The government has won a legal challenge against a High Court
ruling that quashed a national planning policy intended to exempt
small sites from affordable housing obligations.
The Court of Appeal in London has backed government plans
to exempt small development sites from the need to have affordable
housing included on them.
Reading Borough Council and its neighbour West Berkshire
District Council claimed that the new policy, introduced in a
ministerial statement in November 2014, would drastically reduce
the amount of affordable housing across the country by more than 20
And they claimed that it would have a particular impact in their
areas, as well as providing a windfall to landowners and
Reading had claimed that the policy would result in a loss of up
to 30 much-needed affordable homes per year in its area, out of a
target of 167. And the more rural West Berkshire council said it
would lose almost a quarter of its affordable housing under the
In July 2015 Mr Justice Holgate backed their
arguments and quashed the policy, which excluded developments of
ten homes or fewer, or 1,000 square metres or less, from the
requirement to provide or contribute to affordable housing
However, today's judgement of the Master of the Rolls Lord
Dyson, and Lords Justices Laws and Treacy, which ran to more than
13,000 words, overturned the High Court ruling.
Lord Dyson, backed by two other Lords Justices, upheld all four
appeal grounds brought by the government, and reversed Mr Justice
Holgate's decision to quash the policy.
However, the councils' battle may not be over yet. There is
still the possibility the matter could go to the Supreme Court for
a further, last ditch appeal, in which today's decision would
West Berkshire District Council & Anr v The Secretary of
State for Communities and Local Government. Case Number:
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