St Albans council has failed in its bid to overturn an inspector’s view that its local plan was unsound.
The council launched a judicial review to challenge David Hogger’s interim findings that the council had failed to fulfil its duty to cooperate. The case was heard in the High Court last month, and the decision was announced today.
In dismissing St Albans Council’s challenge, the judge, Sir Ross Cranston, said he could detect no legal flaw in the inspector’s decision. He went on to say that Hogger’s conclusions were neither irrational nor unlawful and there was nothing wrong with him “expressing concern” about the soundness of St Albans’ strategic housing plan.
St Albans has yet to comment but it is thought the council will now need to withdraw its local plan and may well need to repeat stages of the local plan process, engaging properly with its neighbours. Nine councils were named as “interested parties” in the case. They were: Dacorum, Hertsmere, Three Rivers, Watford, Welwyn Hatfield, Hertfordshire, Central Bedfordshire and North Hertfordshire.
St Albans is infamous as having the oldest local plan in England, dating back to 1994. This issue falls now to the new leader of the council, Cllr Alec Campbell, to resolve, following Cllr Julian Daly’s resignation earlier this year.
R on the Application of St Albans City and District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Case Number: CO/26/2017