Cala Homes (South) Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government & Anor  EWHC 2866 (Admin) found Eric Pickles, SoS at DCLG, acted unlawfully in scrapping the Regional Strategies for housing development, which also, lest we forget, included requirements for local authorities to identify and develop sites for travellers and gypsys. Mr Pickles had announced the decision to scrap the strategies under s79(6) of the Local Democracy Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.
Alas for Mr Pickles, this has turned out to be unlawful because:
a) the decision involved using that power for an improper purpose by “undermining the policy of the LDEDCA 2009 that there should – ordinarily at least – be Regional Strategies in place for each region”, contrary to the principle in Padfield v Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods  AC 997 that a “discretionary power conferred by a statute is impliedly limited in some respect by reference to the policy and objects of that statute”, depending on construction.
And b) due to the failure to carry out a detailed environmental assessment prior to reaching the decision, contrary to the requirements of the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004 (“the 2004 Regulations”), which give effect in domestic law to Directive 2001/42/EC.
Mr Pickles will now have to consider primary legislation to accomplish his stated end.
In other news..
Brightlingsea Haven v Morris (our last report) – on whether a seasonal caravan site was protected under Mobile Homes Act 1983 – was due in the Court of Appeal today. We are reliably informed that the case had settled before being heard, leaving the question undetermined by the Court of Appeal.
Quadrant Brownswood Tenant Cooperative Limited v White (HC 09 C 03494) – an Art 8 challenge to a housing co-op possession claim – was due to be heard on 9 November 2010, but has been adjourned to some date after 4 January 2011. We understand the tenant was in person on 9 November, so, given the issues involved, this may not be as much of a case to watch as we thought.
But, while on Co-ops, and potentially a very important case for co-op tenants, we’ve learnt that Ms Berrisford in Berrisford v Mexfield has been given permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. Our report on the Court of Appeal hearing is here.
And the Court of Appeal judgements in Universal Estates v Tiensia and Honeysuckle Properties v Fletcher – the tenancy deposit cases we have all been waiting (and waiting) for are apparently to be handed down tomorrow (or today if you are reading this on 11 November). We’re on it.