Resisting gentrification and refining general conformity with the local plan
March 8, 2017
Neighbourhood plans continue to generate controversy in the Courts.
Megan Thomas has successfully defended the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan in R (Swan Quay LLP) v Swale Borough Council  EWHC 420 (Admin) against an allegation that its Examiner did not give adequate reasons for modifying it in accordance with the basic conditions.
The Examiner recommended no residential use at Swan Quay on heritage grounds as he was concerned that it would gentrify the industrial and maritime nature of the quay. Mr Justice Dove said that whilst gentrification was not a land use planning technical term, it did not need to be. It described the erosion of the legacy of industrial use and the surrounding historic assets associated with that use by the introduction of a new and historically unprecedented residential use and associated activities. He found the Examiner’s (and therefore Swale’s) reasons to be full, adequate and clear.
In relation to the basic condition in paragraph 8(2)(e) of Schedule 4B of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990, which requires the making of the plan to be in general conformity with the strategic policies contained in the development plan for the area of the authority, he differed from Mr Justice Supperstone in BDW Trading Ltd (t/a Barratt Homes) & Anor v Cheshire West & Chester Borough Council  EWHC 1470, by pointing out that the language of the statute relates conformity to the strategic policies contained in the development plan, not to the development plan as a whole. Thus, if an emerging policy in a Neighbourhood Plan is not in general conformity with one strategic policy in a development plan, that could be good reason for not meeting basic condition (e).