MHCLG concedes to district council over housing delivery test

Council gets a revised result ahead of High Court challenge.

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MHCLG has caved in the face of a legal challenge by a district council to a revised Housing Delivery Test.

Lewes district council issued High Court proceedings against MHCLG after the publication of its annual housing delivery test results in February this year, which indicated that the council had only delivered 50% of the housing required under its adopted local plan over the previous three years.

The case was listed for the High Court later this month, but MHCLG has conceded the case.

Cllr Emily O’Brien, the council’s cabinet member for planning, said the decision to issue proceedings was not taken lightly – but necessary to safeguard the council’s local plan.

“The revised test result means [we] can demonstrate an up-to-date local plan and that planning decisions can be made in accordance with our adopted local plan, which includes the policies in our adopted local neighbourhood plans,” she said.

The consequence of delivery falling below 85% is a requirement to add a 20% buffer to a council’s five-year housing land supply.

This would have resulted in the council losing its five-year housing land supply and, as a consequence, its local plan would be treated as ‘out of date’ and irrelevant when determining planning applications.

Neighbourhood plans over two years old would also effectively become redundant.

The case was listed for a final hearing at the High Court later this month, but with MHCLG accepting the council’s evidence, a revised Housing Delivery Test result of 86% has been issued.

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