It has recently been announced that Rights: Community: Action (RCA), a rights and climate collective, has issued a High Court legal challenge of the Planning Inspectorate’s report on the Salt Cross Garden Village (SCGV) Area Action Plan (AAP).
Recently, the Planning Inspectorate shared the report on the AAP. Some of the suggested modifications caused consternation and were seen as effectively ‘watering down’ the ambitious targets around net zero within the plan (read more on WODC website).
Concerns were also raised that allowing the development to proceed with these modifications would result in new homes having to be retro-fitted to meet national net zero targets in 2050, setting a precedent for other developments to follow suit.
RCA has now challenged the Inspectorate’s decision, claiming errors were made in the hearing and subsequent report.
The specific challenges are that the Inspectorate was incorrect in their claims that West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC)’s policy two (concerning net zero targets) conflicts with national policy around net zero ambitions.
RCA is also challenging the Inspectorate over inconsistencies in their response when compared to other similar inspections, with examples provided where local authorities were allowed to be ambitious in their net-zero targets.
The RCA also claim that the Planning Inspectorate didn’t allow WODC to provide more information to support policy two and so support the specific targets that had been set out in the AAP. More details on the challenge and quotes from those involved are available in the press release, which was posted on the website of law firm Leigh Day.
The legal process will take between six and nine months. Until the process is complete, the AAP will likely remain in draft form. If RCA wins the case, the Planning Inspectorate will be required to repeat their inspection and issue an updated, corrected report. If RCA lose, the AAP will remain in its current form. You can access the current AAP via our previous news story.
Eynsham Parish Council will be following this case closely and will keep residents informed whenever we have more news to share.