Cala Homes pushes for Judicial Review of scrapping of plans containing housing targets

Housebuilder Cala Homes has launched a legal challenge against the government’s decision to scrap regional planning strategies.

The Edinburgh-based builder said that the decision by communities secretary Eric Pickles to abolish the strategies (RSSs), which contain housing targets for councils, was unlawful without primary legislation, and should be put to judicial review.

Plans for thousands of homes have been revoked by local authorities since the abolition of the RSSs, with councils in the growth areas amongst those reviewing their housing growth plans. Pickles abolished them as part of the Coalition’s drive toward local decision-making.

Cala had its 2,000 home Barton Farm scheme in Winchester turned down in June, shortly after the plans were abolished, and says it has been left with no basis to appeal the decision because of the lack of transitional arrangements. A date for an appeal of the decision has subsequently been postponed.

A Cala spokesperson confirmed the firm was seeking Judicial Review of the decision to abolish Regional Spatial Strategies. She said: “We believe that this decision was unlawful. The consequence …has been to curtail development in many areas including those where there is a clear need. Without consultation, transitional arrangements, or even a very clear idea of what the regime will look like, there is now a policy vacuum. We are simply seeking to establish the legal framework that we operate within. “