There has been an interesting and well worth reading case involving a challenge to Basingstoke and Deane's emerging core strategy. Mr Justice Lindblom gave judgement on 17 April 2012. This was a case where the local planning authority was also the owner of the relevant site. As landowner, the Council had decided not to promote the site for development (a decision which the Court found to be unlawful) and so as planning authority, the Council took the view that the site was not available and so should not be considered in the emerging core strategy.
Although by no means the only points to take away from the case, I noted the following in particular;
- even the best laid plans to separate landowning functions from planning functions can overlook the obvious when the whole point of the Council's ownership was to further good planning by developing the site.
- when it comes to considering whether a site is available (here for PPS3 purposes - but still relevant under NPPF), there is an important distinction to be made between a site which is simply not being promoted, and one which is genuinely unavailable.