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Cala loses planning court appeal

Decision makers can take the Government’s intention to revoke Regional Strategies into consideration when examining planning applications and appeals, the Court of Appeal has said.

The judgment ends a long-running legal dispute between Cala Homes and the Government.

Cala went to the Court of Appeal after losing a High Court challenge on the issue. The firm argued that the Government’s intention to abolish Regional Strategies could not lawfully be considered in relation to planning applications and appeals, at least until their new Localism Bill becomes law.

Planning authorities and inspectors have been given guidance by the court on the approach they should take in judging the potential significance of the abolition of the strategies when deciding planning applications.

The Government announced its intention to abolish Regional Strategies through the Localism Bill last year. The Bill has now completed the Commons stage.

Planning Minister Bob Neill said: ‘This judgment confirms that decision makers can take into account the Government’s intention to sweep away Regional Strategies when deciding planning applications and appeals. I welcome the helpful guidance given in the judgment on the approach which local planning authorities and inspectors should follow in such decisions. Under the previous government’s top-down targets we saw the lowest peacetime housebuilding rates since 1924.

‘Increasing the rate of housebuilding is a top priority for the Government and is backed by incentives to kick-start building. Housebuilding has started to rise again and we recently paid the first cash payments under the New Homes Bonus. You don’t need bureaucratic Regional Strategies to build more homes and support growth.’

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