Changes Here to Stay

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The High Court dismissed all of RCA’s objections to the changes to the Use Classes Order and permitted development rights

Back in 2020, campaign group Rights: Community: Action posed a legal challenge against the Government’s changes to the Use Classes Order and permitted development rights on the grounds that:

  • proper consultation and parliamentary debate was not undertaken;
  • the Government unlawfully failed to carry out strategic environmental assessments; and
  • that the changes made significant adjustments to councils’ development control powers.

Despite a gallant effort, the RCA’s objections have been in vain as their attempt to overturn the government’s planning law has been dismissed.

On the 17th November 2020, the High Court dismissed all of RCA’s arguments. The presiding Judge believed that the new permitted development rights were proportionate given the circumstances and were granted by the Government “in order to stimulate regeneration at a time of great economic difficulty arising out of the pandemic.”

The RCA appealed, believing that the changes will have a substantially negative effect on our environment. On 20th December 2021, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court on the basis that the statutory instruments in question did not fall under the SEA Directive and that the changes were lawful without undertaking an environmental assessment or carrying out a screening procedure.

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