A recent High Court decision has highlighted the differing approaches to time limits within the planning system.

The case concerned a challenge against a development plan document, brought under section 113(4) Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, in order to try and protect a restriction on development that was at risk of being lifted by the new policy.

Section 113 provides for a six-week challenge period, which commences on the date of adoption of the document. This is in clear contrast to challenges brought under section 287 Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (primarily, challenges to old-style development plans, but also other schemes and orders), which provides for the six-week challenge period to begin one day later.

This case confirms that time limits set out in the civil procedure rules (CPR) could not be invoked into the statute so that the later could be construed in any way other than in accordance with its clear and unambiguous wording. The particular civil procedure rule referred to would have meant that the period could not have commenced until the day after adoption, as it refers to "clear days".

As such in this case, the challenge was brought out of time and was, therefore, struck out.

The court clarified that the CPR would have governed how the challenge was conducted, albeit not the timescale that applied to it.

Hinde v Rugby Borough Council & Bloor Homes