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LPA has a broad discretion to exclude specific sites from a Neighbourhood Area

Daws Hill Neighbourhood Forum v. Wycombe DC, SoSCLG and Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd [2013] UKHC (Admin), Supperstone J.

On 13 March 2013 the High Court decided that the discretion conferred upon LPA's to decide the appropriate extent of a Neighbourhood Area pursuant to s.61G TCPA 1990 is a broad one which may be exercised in light of the particular policy and factual matrix affecting sites within the proposed Neighbourhood Area including factors which relate to or are derived from the strategic nature of a site.

The main Claimant, a Neighbourhood Forum, sought to challenge the LPA's decision to exclude two strategic sites from its proposed Neighbourhood Area.  One of the sites was the former Daws Hill military base owned by Taylor Wimpey and which was proposed for residential-led mixed use development.

Supperstone J. held that in excluding the sites from the Neighbourhood Area the LPA were entitled to rely upon the following factors:

(a) that the sites were key strategic sites with development implications over a wider sphere of influence than merely the proposed Neighbourhood Area;

(b) that a referendum covering a much wider area than the proposed Neighbourhood Area was likely to be required before any Neighbourhood Plan could be confirmed;

(c) that the limited resources of the local authority should be properly targeted and it was therefore appropriate to take into account of the fact that the key strategic sites had reached an advanced stage of preparation which had already involved extensive public consultation (one had outline permission, the other had the benefit of a development brief and an application was expected shortly after the decision) and the likely delay in putting a Neighbourhood Plan in place;

(d) to designate the full neighbourhood area might, in those circumstances, unrealistically raise expectations in relation to the effectiveness of any Neighbourhood Plan which plan would likely be overtaken by events.

Wayne Beglan represented Taylor Wimpey instructed by Berwin Leighton Paisner