Legal battle against Lichfield Council’s decision to release Green Belt for new homes
1st July 2014
I M Properties Development Limited will present its case against Lichfield District Council during a two day court hearing at Birmingham Administrative Court.
The developer is looking to reverse the Council’s decision to approve the main modifications to the local development plan, which includes the release of large areas of Green Belt land.
It is understood that I M Properties currently has an outline planning application to build 750 new homes on a site, which is mainly farmland and situated outside of the green belt, to the North East of Lichfield.
During last years’ examination, Planning Inspector Mr Yuille increased the Council’s housing target by a further 900 homes to 9,600 over a 20 year period.
His decision was based on Lichfield Council’s housing target provision of 8,700 homes, which included 1,000 dwellings to meet the needs of Tamworth and Cannock Chase Councils. On deducting the 1,000 figure, the Inspector concluded that Lichfield Council was only providing 7,700 dwellings to meet the needs of Lichfield – a figure that was below the range set out in the Housing Needs Study.
To accommodate the increase in housing numbers, Council Planning Officers identified areas of Green Belt to be released and used for new homes.
I M Properties claim that in reaching their decision, the Council had to have regard to, apply and correctly understand Paragraph 83 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF):
It will also say that the Council did not make the decision with an open mind and failed to take into account other material considerations, namely a Ministerial Statement concerning Green Belt policy published in January 2014.
In a letter to Planning Inspector Mr Yuille, Lichfield DC said: "The council is defending the legal challenge and will be seeking an expedited hearing of the challenge in order to minimise any prejudice to the timely progress of the resumption of the examination."
Mrs Justice Patterson DBE will announce her decision sometime during August 2014.
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