Important decision on whether an acceptable scheme can be turned away in order to encourage a 'better' scheme in the light of the design policies of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG).
Horsham District Council v. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1), Barratt Southern Counties Limited (2)  EWHC 109 Admin
In a judgment handed down on 23 January 2015 Lindblom J, sitting in the Planning Court, firmly re-stated the general rule: "It is not a general principle in planning law that an acceptable proposal for development should be turned away because a better one might be put forward instead". Any concerns that this rule may not have survived the introduction of the NPPF were thereby dispelled.
The Court dismissed the challenge by the LPA to the grant of planning permission to Barratt for 160 dwellings as an urban extension to the village of Henfield on the basis that the inspector had failed to consider whether a better designed scheme could emerge for the site. The Court also reaffirmed the principle that a s.288 challenge is not the place to seek to review the planning merits of the case.
Cornerstone Barristers 'Mark Lowe QC appeared for Barratt, both in the High Court and at the inquiry. David Lintott appeared for Horsham District Council, both in the High Court and at the inquiry.
Full details of the final judgment can be read here.