St Albans District Council launches legal action against ‘flawed conclusion’

PUBLISHED: 17:05 06 January 2017

St Albans council is seeking a judicial review

St Albans council is seeking a judicial review


A legal challenge has been launched after a scathing report on St Albans’ future expansion, where a government official effectively rejected a major blueprint.

St Albans district council is fighting a planning inspector’s conclusion that it has failed to meet its duty to co-operate while drawing up its Strategic Local Plan (SLP).

The authority started legal proceedings yesterday (Thursday) against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to quash the decision.

Last year, the council submitted its draft SLP for approval to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Planning inspector David Hogger examined the blueprint, which indicates where the council hopes to expand, including onto the Green Belt.

He held an initial hearing on October 26, 2016 and sent the council his conclusions on November 28.

In his letter, he accused the council of failing to meet its duty to cooperate with neighbouring planning authorities while drawing up the SLP.

He said St Albans could not be “selective over which of its neighbours it cooperates with”.

This duty is set out in section 33A of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase 2004 Act.

After taking external legal advice, the council has now decided to take legal action against the Secretary of State.

It has applied to the High Court for permission to seek a Judicial Review of his planning inspector’s decision. A judge will consider the application in the next few weeks.

The council contends that the decision is unlawful and is challenging it on five grounds:

• Firstly, the council says the inspector wrongly interpreted parts of the National Planning Policy Framework. He took into account immaterial considerations in relation to the identification of strategic issues within the SLP.

• Secondly, he failed to engage with or take into account the issues which were engaged with in the plan-making process when reaching conclusions on the duty to cooperate.

• Thirdly, he failed to identify what matters were strategic for the purposes of Section 33A of the 2004 Act.

• Fourthly, in reaching his conclusions on the relationship between Dacorum borough council’s core strategy and the SLP, he made an error of law.

• Finally, the inspector made conclusions on the soundness of the SLP which were wrong.

Councillor Julian Daly, the council’s leader and portfolio holder for the SLP, said: “The council believes the inspector’s conclusion that we did not meet the duty to co-operate is flawed.

“We are therefore seeking a judicial review of the decision and look forward to having our case heard.”

He went on: “However, we remain committed to meeting with the [neighbouring] councils which raised concerns so that we can understand and address their positions.

“I will continue to work closely with the other parties’ spokespeople in the development of the council’s approach.”

The SLP sets out policies on development in the district until 2031, identifying land for new housing, infrastructure, commerce, industry and social amenities. It was produced following two intensive public consultations.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Herts Advertiser visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Herts Advertiser staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Herts Advertiser account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 16:03

You can’t have Halloween without Jack O’Lanterns, and what better place to pick up a pumpkin than St Albans’ own Willows Activity Farm?

Yesterday, 15:00

St Albans MP Anne Main has met with a Government committee to discuss the plight of Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh.

Yesterday, 13:40

St Albans MP Anne Main has added her voice to calls from Herts MPs for guarantees for Nascot Lawn respite centre.

Yesterday, 10:22

A woman who was injured in a collision on the M1 near St Albans has been taken to hospital.


Harpenden’s MP has pledged to fight for farming, financial services, and Rothamsted Research as parliament begins debating Brexit.

Digital Edition

Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Hertfordshire's trusted business finder
Zoo Watch CountryPhile

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read stories


Show Job Lists

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards