Village QC convinces court that Pickles’ housing move was unlawful

Mr Justice Sales has ruled that moves to scrap housing targets in England are unlawful, handing a High Court defeat to Treasury Devil James Eadie QC.

Eric Pickles
Eric Pickles

Macfarlanes partner Ian Ginbey instructed 4-5 Gray’s Inn silk Peter Village QC to act for claimant Cala Homes (South) in its judicial review proceedings against the Government.

Village argued that plans put forward by communities secretary Eric Pickles to revoke seven regional strategies put in place in 2004 fell outside his remit.

The decision to ditch the plans in the South East, the claimant argued, also breached the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive, which requires the secretary of state to check whether changes to the planning laws will have an impact on the local environment.

Eadie dismissed the suggestion arguing that “there’s no way in which [a strategic environmental assessment]  could be done on the revocation of a [Regional Strategy].”

In his ruling Sales J rejected the Government’s defence, stating: “If, as I’m told, environmental assessments were carried out in relation to the adoption of the existing Regional Strategies, I don’t see there’s any insuperable difficulty in conducting such assessments as may be appropriate if they were revoked.”

The Treasury Solicitor instructed Eadie of Blackstone Chambers to lead James Maurici of Landmark Chambers to act for the Secretary of State and Winchester City Council.

Village led James Strachan and Sarah Hannett also of 4-5 Gray’s Inn for the claimants.