A judge has ordered that St Albans City and District Council’s current legal Claim, be dealt with in a “rolled-up”* hearing in the High Court.
The Council is challenging a Planning Inspector’s conclusion that it has not met its duty to co-operate while drawing up its Strategic Local Plan (SLP). Once formally agreed and adopted, the SLP will form a blueprint for building development in the District until 2031.
Last year, the Council submitted its draft SLP for approval to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The DCLG appointed a Planning Inspector, David Hogger, to examine it. He held an initial hearing on 26 October 2016 and sent the Council his conclusions on 28 November.
In his letter, the Inspector concluded that the Council had not met its duty to co-operate with neighbouring planning authorities while drawing up its SLP.
This duty is set out in section 33A of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase 2004 Act.
The Council started legal proceedings against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on Thursday 5 January 2017. The Council is applying to the High Court for permission to seek a Judicial Review of his Planning Inspector’s decision.
The latest move means that the Council’s application for permission to apply for Judicial Review will be considered at an oral hearing. If permission is granted, the substantive hearing will take place immediately afterwards.
The High Court Order can be seen below.
In the Order, the Judge has asked the Council to reconsider its Grounds of Claim. This will give the Council an opportunity to make sure its grounds “are more focussed” so that competing arguments are “clearer for the court to determine”. The Council is asked to serve amended Grounds on both the Defendant and the local authorities directly affected by the duty to co-operate, within 14 days.
The Council will take legal advice before filing and serving its amended Grounds by Monday 13 March.
Contact for the media:
Claire Wainwright, Executive and Communications Manager, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01727 819572, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors:
*A “rolled-up” hearing
Where permission to apply for Judicial Review is considered at an oral hearing and, if granted, the substantive hearing takes place immediately afterwards.