The High Court has rejected claims by a neighbourhood forum established under the Localism Act 2011 that a local authority rode roughshod over Parliament’s intention that local communities should be encouraged to engage fully in planning decisions that affect them.
The Daws Hill Neighbourhood Forum argued that, in designating a ‘neighbourhood area’ in which its views would be given particular weight, Wycombe District Council had left out two parcels of land which had been earmarked for development. It was submitted that the council’s decision defeated the whole object of the legislation.
However, in dismissing the forum’s judicial review challenge, the court ruled that, in delineating the boundary of the neighbourhood area, the council had exercised its broad discretion in the light of the factual and policy matrix applying to the particular area. The council viewed the two development sites as of strategic importance and was entitled to reach the view that their ‘wider connotations’ meant that placing them within the forum’s neighbour area would be inappropriate.