Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has lost a court battle over his plans to scrap the last government's regional housing targets. The move was ruled unlawful by the High Court. Housing developers had asked the court to block it, arguing Mr Pickles had abused his powers.
Catriona Riddell, the Convenor of the Society's Strategic Planning Forum, told Inside Housing that the court decision "doesn't really change things in the long term but adds to the confusion that already exists in the planning system in the short term - local authorities were beginning to adjust to 'life without RSS' and had decided on a way forward (whether to proceed with LDF or start again) and this potentially just takes them back again."
Riddell continued "we are lucky we have an 'evidence based' system as local authorities can at least move forward if they have the evidence whether in line with RSS or not - they need to have regard to RSS, but provided they have evidence to deviate from RSS then they should be OK, as was always the case."
The Society is concerned about the short term impact on local authorities who may have to face an increase in applications/appeals from developers who may try to get in before the new legislation. The Topic Forum Convenor added that "the legislation may take a while to go thorugh the process because it is very complex and may take a battering from the opposition although we fully expect RSS abolition to survive and be implemented quickly."
To read more about the High Court decision click here
Read the DCLG Chief Planner's response letter to all local planning authorities by clicking here
To read the PINS advice note prepared for its inspectors click here