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Challenge to Neighbourhood Plan Out of Time (High Court)
In March 2016, the local planning authority (LPA) appointed an examiner to consider a neighbourhood development plan (NDP). In August 2016, the examiner produced their report. On 3 March 2017, the LPA published its decision statement accepting the examiner’s recommendations and set 4 May 2017 as the date for the local referendum. On 26 May 2017, the order for the NDP was made.
On 5 July 2017, a challenge to the making of the order was issued (within the six week time limit for challenges set out in the Localism Act 2011). However, in reality, the challenge related to the legality of the LPA’s decision statement. The challenge period for that ran from 3 March 2017 and ended six weeks later in mid-April.
Mr Judge Kerr held that the claim was out of time and although arguable on its merits, permission must be refused. He stated “the six week period having already expired, the prohibition against entertaining the challenge has come into play and I do not think it can be outflanked by dressing up the challenge as one not to the authority’s decision to hold a referendum, but to the subsequent decision to make an order on the strength of the referendum result”.
The point to take away is that a challenge whether under the Act or by way of Judicial Review, must be swiftly made. Something which we know can be difficult for local councils when it may entail a special meeting.
Please contact our specialist planning and licensing team, Simon Sanger-Anderson or Amy Cater on 01392 204515 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org