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Planning Appeal Inspector finds London Borough unrealistic to rely on adopted London Plan housing need figure

The decision of the Secretary of State to grant permission on appeal for two housing schemes in Beckenham (south London) at South Eden Park Road has significant implications for decisions where housing need is at issue throughout the Greater London area.

The appeal schemes were for, respectively, 105 units and 55 units on open land designated as Urban Open Space in the Bromley UDP and emerging Local Plan.

The inspector found that the development was contrary to the development plan policies for open space but went on to consider need. Bromley LBC relied on a housing requirement figure based on the Borough's proportion of the London wide figure from the 2014 London Plan of 641 dpa.

Rejecting that approach as unrealistic the Inspector found that:

  • 33. "Whilst I cannot give full weight to the new draft LP [London Plan] requirement for Bromley of 1,424dpa (set out in the 2017 SHLAA) because this figure has not been moderated or tested at Examination, the trend for the Borough is only ever likely to be upwards, and probably considerably upwards, of the current minimum figure of 641dpa".
  • 34. "The most recent London OAN as expressed in the 2017 SHMA and the slightly lower capacity figure in the 2017 SHLAA provide the most up-to-date evidence of housing need. They are [...] highly relevant because they provide the latest evidence of housing needs. The pressing need for and recent figures for the paucity of delivery of additional affordable housing point to the unsustainability of the Council's recent record of dealing with applications for residential development".

The Inspector allowed both appeals and made an award of costs against the Council. You can read the costs decision here.

Jonathan Clay, instructed by John Escott of REPlanning, represented the successful appellant.