Cornwall Council welcomes High Court decision on St Ives Neighbourhood Development Plan judicial review

Posted on: 12th November 2016

Cornwall Council welcomes High Court decision on St Ives Neighbourhood Development Plan judicial review which respects the votes of local people. This opens the way for other communities adversely affected by homes that are not lived in (many are 2nd homes) to take the same action through neighbourhood plans.

Cornwall Council is welcoming the news that the claim for judicial review submitted by RLT Built Environment Limited of the authority’s decision to support the publication of the St Ives Neighbourhood Development Plan and put it to a referendum in St Ives has been dismissed on all counts.

The judgement handed down today by Mr Justice (now Lord Justice)  Hickinbottom means that, subject to no appeal being lodged, the Council will now be able to progress the ‘making’ of the St Ives Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP).

The decision also means that town and parish councils with similar policies in their Neighbourhood Plans will also be able to progress them.  These will be dealt with on a case by case basis subject to supporting evidence and the relevant Examiner’s report.

This is a hugely important judgement for Cornwall, St Ives Town Council and for the residents of St Ives who wanted to ensure that any new homes in the town would be the resident’s sole or main residence,” said Edwina Hannaford, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning

“We also know that a number of other local communities, both in Cornwall and across the rest of the country, are also interested in including similar policies in their own Neighbourhood Plans and have been  watching this case with interest”.

The St Ives NDP was the subject of referendum on 5 May 2016 and of the 47% of electors entitled to vote , 83% voted in favour of Cornwall Council using the St Ives NDP to help decide planning applications in the Neighbourhood Area which covers St Ives and Carbis Bay.

Immediately prior to the referendum RLT Built Environment Limited, a firm of architects specialising in residential development and design, challenged  the Council’s decision made on 17 March 2016 to proceed to referendum. The original challenge comprised 8 grounds, all but 3 of which were abandoned prior to the hearing on 6 October 2016, with the main challenge claiming that Policy H2 – the principal residency requirement , was incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In dismissing the judicial review Mr Justice Hickinbottom said he had not been convinced by any of the grounds put forward by the claimants. “I do not consider any of the grounds strong – and I have expressly found some to be unarguable” he said.  “I heard full submissions on all of the grounds, and I have given a full judgement. In all the circumstances, not without hesitation, I shall grant permission to proceed on all grounds; but, having done so, refuse the substantive application”.