Aspect Ecology contributes to success at appeal: full costs award highlights the need for positive engagement by LPAs

April 2024

Aspect Ecology contributes to success at appeal: full costs award highlights the need for positive engagement by LPAs

Following an inquiry in February, the Planning Inspectorate has allowed an appeal against the non-determination by the local planning authority (LPA) of an application for a mixed-use development, including 540 dwellings, on an allocated site in Oxfordshire. Costs were awarded against both Oxfordshire County Council, in relation to highways and education related matters it was found to have pursued unreasonably, and in relation to the LPA, in relation to the remainder of the appeal costs.

๐– ๐—Œ๐—‰๐–พ๐–ผ๐— ๐–ค๐–ผ๐—ˆ๐—…๐—ˆ๐—€๐—’ ๐—‚๐—Œ ๐–ฝ๐–พ๐—…๐—‚๐—€๐—๐—๐–พ๐–ฝ ๐—๐—ˆ ๐—๐–บ๐—๐–พ ๐–ผ๐—ˆ๐—‡๐—๐—‹๐—‚๐–ป๐—Ž๐—๐–พ๐–ฝ ๐—๐—ˆ ๐—๐—๐–พ ๐—Œ๐—Ž๐–ผ๐–ผ๐–พ๐—Œ๐—Œ ๐—ˆ๐–ฟ ๐—๐—๐—‚๐—Œ ๐—‰๐—‹๐—ˆ๐—ƒ๐–พ๐–ผ๐— ๐—๐—‚๐—๐— ๐–พ๐—๐—‚๐–ฝ๐–พ๐—‡๐–ผ๐–พ ๐—‰๐—‹๐—ˆ๐—๐—‚๐–ฝ๐–พ๐–ฝ ๐–ป๐—’ Alistair Baxter, ๐–ฒ๐–พ๐—‡๐—‚๐—ˆ๐—‹ ๐–ฃ๐—‚๐—‹๐–พ๐–ผ๐—๐—ˆ๐—‹, ๐—‚๐—‡ ๐—‹๐–พ๐—Œ๐—‰๐–พ๐–ผ๐— ๐—ˆ๐–ฟ ๐–ก๐—‚๐—ˆ๐–ฝ๐—‚๐—๐–พ๐—‹๐—Œ๐—‚๐—๐—’ ๐—†๐–บ๐—๐—๐–พ๐—‹๐—Œ. ๐–ฎ๐—‡๐—…๐—’ ๐—๐—‚๐—๐— ๐—๐—๐–พ ๐–บ๐—‰๐—‰๐–พ๐–บ๐—… ๐—…๐—ˆ๐—ˆ๐—†๐—‚๐—‡๐—€ ๐–ฝ๐—‚๐–ฝ ๐—๐—๐–พ ๐–ข๐—ˆ๐—Ž๐—‡๐–ผ๐—‚๐—… ๐–ฟ๐—‚๐—‡๐–บ๐—…๐—…๐—’ ๐–พ๐—‡๐—€๐–บ๐—€๐–พ ๐—๐—‚๐—๐— ๐—๐—๐–พ ๐–บ๐—‰๐—‰๐—…๐—‚๐–ผ๐–บ๐—‡๐— ๐–บ๐—‡๐–ฝ ๐– ๐—…๐—‚๐—Œ๐—๐–บ๐—‚๐—‹ ๐—๐–บ๐—Œ ๐–บ๐–ป๐—…๐–พ ๐—๐—ˆ ๐–บ๐—€๐—‹๐–พ๐–พ ๐–พ๐–ผ๐—ˆ๐—…๐—ˆ๐—€๐—’ ๐—†๐–บ๐—๐—๐–พ๐—‹๐—Œ with the LPA. ๐–ณ๐—๐—‚๐—Œ ๐—๐—ˆ๐—๐–พ๐—๐–พ๐—‹ ๐—๐–บ๐—Œ ๐—‹๐—‚๐—€๐—๐—๐—…๐—’ ๐—Œ๐–พ๐–พ๐—‡ ๐–บ๐—Œ ๐–ฟ๐–บ๐—‹ ๐—๐—ˆ๐—ˆ ๐—…๐–บ๐—๐–พ ๐–ป๐—’ ๐—๐—๐–พ ๐–ฏ๐—…๐–บ๐—‡๐—‡๐—‚๐—‡๐—€ ๐–จ๐—‡๐—Œ๐—‰๐–พ๐–ผ๐—๐—ˆ๐—‹.

This project serves as an important case study for LPAs who should take note that a failure to engage in a constructive approach, in a timely manner, will be met with penalties. Government policy set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF:2023) at paragraph 38 requires that:

โ€œLocal planning authorities should approach decisions on proposed development in a positive and creative wayโ€ and that โ€œDecision-makers at every level should seek to approve applications for sustainable development where possibleโ€

Yet many authorities we engage with appear to have overlooked this paragraph. This is all the more lamentable when allocated sites such as the one in this case study, are delayed in planning for years, further increasing the national housing crisis* and denying people much needed homes.

* The housing shortage isnโ€™t a looming crisis, a distant threat that will become a problem if we fail to act. Weโ€™re already living in it. Fixing our broken housing market 2017. White paper setting out the governmentโ€™s plans to reform the housing market and boost the supply of new homes in England.

Further details can be found here.

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