The Coalition's intended abolition of regional strategies can be taken into account when making planning decisions, the High Court has ruled.
The judgment - in a High Court case brought by CALA Homes - confirms that the intended scrapping of regional strategies is a 'material consideration' which can be considered by local planning authorities and planning inspectors when making decisions.
The Government has long signalled its intention to abolish the strategies through the Localism Bill, now at committee stage in the Commons.
Planning minister Bob Neill said: "We are determined to return decision-making powers to communities and provide powerful incentives so people can see the benefits of building more homes and the Bill will help achieve this.
"This judgment makes it clear that planners can take into account the Government's intention to do away with regional strategies.”
Regional strategies were revoked on 6 July 2010 but were re-established on 10 November 2010 after a successful challenge by housing developer CALA Homes.
But a subsequent challenge by CALA Homes, to halt planners using the intended revocation of the strategies as a 'material consideration' when making planning decisions, has been lost by the developer following a High Court case.
Pending abolition regional strategies remain part of the statutory development plan. The weight given to any 'material consideration' depends on the individual circumstances and it is for the decision maker to decide on the appropriate weight, Communities and Local Government has said.
This latest judgment will not affect decisions already made on planning applications. CALA Homes has indicated it will appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Peter Village QC, James Strachan and Sarah Hannett are acting for CALA Homes, instructed by Macfarlanes.
10 February 2011