Local Neighbourhood Plan did not have to meet district Objectively Assessed Housing Needs

How far does a Local Neighbourhood Plan (“LNP”) have to have regard to national planning policy in allocating land for dwellings?

In Crownhall Estates Ltd, R (on the application of) v Chichester District Council & Ors [2016] it was argued that the indicative figure of 60 given in the local plan for Loxwood was too low because of that plan’s failure to meet the Objectively Assessed Housing Requirement (“OAN”) for the district consistently with the requirements of Paragraph 47 of the National Planning Policy Framework (“NPPF”) and that therefore more than 60 new homes should be provided in the LNP.

However the High Court said that reference to paragraph 47 of the NPPF was erroneous in the context of LNP preparation. Whilst that national policy was concerned with the responsibilities of local planning authorities in preparing local plans, it was not concerned with the responsibilities of parish councils preparing neighbourhood plans.

Moreover, the claimant’s argument was inconsistent with the statutory and policy framework.

There had been no requirement for the LNP to meet the full OAN, which is a concept related to a “housing market area” – typically the district covered by a local planning authority, if not larger.

The court approved the local planning authority’s statement that “OAN estimates are based upon demographic projections for the district as a whole and “cannot be readily disaggregated to the level of individual parties on settlements, or to sub-areas of the district.””

This blog has been posted out of general interest. It does not replace the need to get bespoke legal advice in individual cases.