In Gallagher Homes Ltd v Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council , the claimant's sites for housing development were placed in the green belt in the local plan. The plan proposed a housing provision based on a figure taken from the revoked Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS), which in its day, had accorded with the then current policy.
The latest policy is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and requires a local plan to meet full objectively assessed needs (for housing), together with a supply of specific deliverable sites to provide five years' worth of housing.
The RSS figure was not based on "objectively assessed" need although the council argued that the RSS figure had taken into account housing need and development constraints. In any event there had been no change in demographics.
The court found that the plan was not sound on the basis that the requirements of the NPPF had not been met.
Can planning authorities still use housing data from a revoked RSS? The court confirmed that they could but only with "extreme caution". While the RSS may provide a starting point, there must still be a figure in the local plan which is set against a full objectively assessed housing need.