High Court upholds decision on flat amalgamation: No breach of Lambeth or London policies

[2024] EWHC 1391 (Admin)
11 Jun 2024

Planning and Environment, Local Government

In Lambeth v SSLUHC [2024] EWHC 1391 (Admin) Lang J has dismissed a challenge to an Inspector’s decision to grant a certificate of lawfulness and planning permission for the amalgamation of two flats into a single dwelling. The Inspector had correctly interpreted policy H3 of the Lambeth Local Plan and H8 of the London Plan and had been entitled to find that the amalgamation did not breach those policies.  The Inspector correctly applied the principles set out by Holgate J in RBKC v SSCLG [2016] EWHC 1785 (Admin) in determining whether the amalgamation constituted a material change of use. The Inspector had been entitled to find that the loss of a single unit of accommodation, in the context of the current housing delivery in the Lambeth, would not be a planning consequence of significance. Finally, the Inspector had not been required to conduct a search for potentially relevant appeal decisions concerning Lambeth’s housing policies. Lambeth had failed to draw to the Inspector’s attention the decisions it now relied on, despite being a party to each of them.

Ben Du Feu acted for the Secretary of State in successfully resisting the claim.