Local Plan legal challenge update

Calderdale Council

A Calderdale community group has received High Court permission to go ahead with one part of its legal challenge against the Council’s adoption of the Local Plan. 

On 6 September 2023, the High Court notified the Council that Clifton Neighbourhood Forum’s application for permission to apply for a statutory challenge has been granted on the first ground only – the judge considered that arguments could be made about whether the Planning Inspector adequately explained her conclusions on transport impacts. Permission was refused in relation to the other two grounds because they were not ‘arguable’.

In March 2023, Councillors voted to adopt the Local Plan that will build a better Calderdale for everyone, open up opportunities for new investment, help create new jobs, support thriving towns and places, develop much-needed, high-quality new homes, and protect our distinctive natural environment. 

In May 2023, Clifton Neighbourhood Forum served legal papers on the Council, outlining its intention to seek a statutory challenge to the way the Local Plan decision was made.

This was based on three grounds: 

  • How the independent Planning Inspector, who oversaw the examination process, considered the transport impacts of the Local Plan.
  • The Inspector’s finding that the proposed garden communities in Brighouse and Rastrick are deliverable.
  • The Inspector’s approach to removal of land from the Green Belt.

The High Court had to decide whether the request for the challenge would go forward to a formal court hearing, where a judge would review the lawfulness of the Local Plan decision. This hearing will take place in due course. 

Cllr Jane Scullion, Calderdale Council’s Leader, said:

“Adopting the Local Plan was a really positive step forward for our communities and a new chapter for Calderdale. It reflects the great level of ambition for the whole borough, contributing to thriving towns and places by identifying sites for sustainable economic growth and new housing, whilst preserving the green spaces that make Calderdale so distinctive. 

“The planning arguments were fully scrutinised at the Local Plan examination in public, although it is not unusual for a plan to be challenged.  

“Whilst it is disappointing that one of the community group’s arguments will go to a formal court hearing, we are pleased that two of the three grounds were found not to be arguable.

“Both the Council and the Secretary of State responded robustly to the bid to challenge the Local Plan process, and we will defend the plan’s adoption at the hearing. It will build a better Calderdale for everyone, open up opportunities for new investment, help create jobs, develop much-needed, high-quality new homes, and protect our natural environment.”

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