The government will not appeal a High Court ruling this week that the communities secretary Eric Pickles acted unlawfully in scrapping the regional plans which set housing targets across councils in England
In a ruling which could unleash a rush of appeals, challenges and planning applications by developers, Justice Scales said Pickles acted unlawfully in unilaterally revoking the system of Regional Strategies in England.
A spokesperson for the government confirmed it would not appeal the decision, which appears to reinstate the regional planning tier abolished in July.
Cala Homes, which launched the judicial review after plans for 2,000 homes near Winchester were turned down in June, said the decision would restore “clarity and confidence” while the government transfers to a new planning system.
A spokesperson said: “We have a clear legal framework to operate within to ensure that housing delivery is maintained until the new arrangements have had time to settle down and become effective.”
However, communities minister Bob Neill said: “This judgement changes very little. The government remains firmly resolved to scrap this layer of confusing red tape.”
Stuart Andrews, partner at Eversheds, acting for developer Catesby, which is challenging a planning refusal for 400 homes in Cornwall based on the abolition of the regional plans, said those plans would now be given more weight than the government’s future intention to abolish. “Our appeal was denied on one ground only - the revocation of regional plans. We’ll be asking the government’s solicitors if they even want to proceed with the case,” he said.