Barratt applied to quash the adoption of Wakefield's policy CS6 "Housing Mix, Affordability and Quality". The inspector set an overall target of 30 per cent Affordable Housing (AH) on qualifying development.
The Inspector based the target on evidence of need from a wait list, a previous shortfall in AH in the area and the Regional Spatial Strategy recommendation of 30-40 per cent. Barratt argued it was an unrealistic target on the grounds that an economic viability appraisal showed the policy to be unviable for the short/medium future with no evidence that the market would recover. They further argued the policy was inflexible and that due regard was not given to other strategies like imposing stepped percentages based on the economic climate.
The judge stated that everyone knew the property market to be cyclical. The evidence of need for AH made the Inspector's target justifiable. CS6 made it clear that the target could only be attained in certain economic conditions and flexibility was provided through negotiation of the AH provided based on market conditions and the specific development. Stepped percentages were unworkable as they would require speculation of future market conditions. The economic climate made it impossible for CS6 to provide developers certainty about the AH they may have to provide but the Inspector had chosen the most appropriate strategy, with little choice of alternative. The claim was dismissed.