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Cala begins new legal challenge

The lawyers behind Cala Homes’ successful legal challenge to the revocation of regional strategies have launched new proceedings after the government insisted that the ruling changes little.

Cala Homes took the fight to the High Court after communities secretary Eric Pickles said RS would be scrapped as part of the new ‘Big Society’ initiative.

Justice Sales ruled in favour of Cala Homes, saying primary legislation should have been introduced before any such move.

On taking office in May, communities secretary Eric Pickles wrote to local authorities to announce his intention to rapidly abolish RSs and instructing them to start devising their own housing targets.

Despite last week’s judgment, department for communities and local government chief planner Steve Quartermain wrote to councils and the Planning Inspectorate insisting that they have to regard this material consideration in any decisions.

The government also confirmed that RS abolition will feature in the decentralisation and localism bill.

But now Cala’s legal advisers Macfarlanes is challenging Quartermain’s letter.

“Cala successfully sought judicial review of the secretary of state’s unlawful revocation of regional strategies to restore clarity to the planning system,” said head of planning Ian Ginbey.

“Regrettably, the government’s response is that it changes little and that regard should still be had to its intention to abolish regional strategies. This has again given rise to confusion and we are seeking a court declaration that its intention to revoke RSs is not a material consideration.”

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