Planning: Core Strategy Housing delivery target was not a requirement

In Local Development Plans there are two quite separate concepts:

– the “requirement” and

– the “target”.

It is the distinction between a “need” and an “aspiration”.

A “requirement” is something that is needed, and that must be provided.

A “target” is more ambitious; it is a goal or aspiration that is set, which may or may not be attained.

The “requirement” is the required minimum, which must be met whether or not the “target” is reached.

In the High Court case of Phides Estates (Overseas) Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Ors [2015] Policy SS2 of the Council’s Core Strategy had the core objective to ensure the delivery of a minimum of 350 dwellings each year from 2006/2007 until 2030/2031.

It also set the target of providing 8,000 dwellings by the end of 2025/2026, which would mean an average delivery of 400 dwellings per year.

The court said Policy SS2 differentiated consistently between those two concepts.

It imposed a requirement for not less than 350 new dwellings per year to be delivered each year throughout the Core Strategy period.

The claimant’s interpretation forced one to read the word “target” as if it meant “requirement”, which was wrong.

The planning inspector had understood Policy SS2 correctly, and had applied it lawfully at the appeal in having the Secretary of State grant planning permission.

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