On Tuesday 17 November 2020 the High Court rejected an application that has been brought by an environmental campaigning organisation to quash new planning regulations made by the Government in July. The new regulations amended the use classes order to create a new commercial, business and service Use Class and introduced further permitted development rights for additional storeys on houses and flats and the demolition of flats and offices for new residential buildings. The Government acknowledged that it had not stuck to a promise to re-consult on some of the proposed changes to the permitted development rights following a previous consultation carried out last year. The Government argued that it needed to act urgently to respond to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the court decided that this was a proportionate and therefore lawful response. The Court also rejected arguments that the Government did not properly consider previous consultation responses and that it should have carried out an environmental impact assessment of both the changes to the use classes order and the permitted development rights. It also ruled that the Government had complied with its obligations to carry out appropriate equality impact assessments under the Equality Act 2010.
We are waiting to hear if there will be an appeal.