Court considers neighbourhood development plan’s restriction on second homes (R (on the application of RLT Built Environment Ltd) v Cornwall Council)

Court considers neighbourhood development plan’s restriction on second homes (R (on the application of RLT Built Environment Ltd) v Cornwall Council)

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The Planning Court’s rejection of a challenge to a neighbourhood development plan’s restriction on second homes in R (on the application of RLT Built Environment Ltd) v Cornwall Council [2016] EWHC 2817 (Admin) is examined by Jack Parker, of Cornerstone Barristers.

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Background

The Planning Court refused the claimant housing developer’s application for judicial review of the defendant local planning authority’s decision to hold a referendum on whether to adopt a neighbourhood development plan. The court rejected the claimant’s case that the statutory criteria for a referendum had not been met because the plan’s policy on limiting second home ownership in the area was both incompatible with article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and contrary to the requirements for strategic environmental assessment (SEA) deriving from European Union law.

What is the significance of the decision for authorities and developers?

The decision is significant insofar as it paves the way for the promoters of other neighbourhood plans to include restrictions on the occupation of second homes where there is evidence that the second homes market is having a detrimental impact on the sustainability of towns and villages. It provides an interesting analysis of the impact of ECHR, art 8 in the context of plan making.

What is the statutory background to the case?

Neighbourhood development plans

By sections 38A38C of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (PCPA 2004) and Schedule 4B to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990), supplemented by the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012,

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