The date for the high court legal challenge against Waverley Borough Council’s 11,000 home masterplan has been set.
The two-day hearing into the council’s local plan part two – originally adopted in March 2023 – will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice on November 7 and 8.
The housing blueprint had previously been described as “a step in the right direction” by planning inspectors but was still criticised for the “geographically contained” spread of development sites.
The legal challenge, the council said, is based on the relationship between the two parts of the local plan, and specifically 180 homes earmarked for land in Milford.
It has been initiated by Tim and Isobel House, who live to the proposed development at Milford Golf Course. Mr House presented his reasons for the challenge in an interview with the Herald in August.
If the challenge is successful the council’s housing bible would need to be redrawn, a process that can take years.
Speaking at Waverley Borough Council’s executive committee on Tuesday, September 5, was Councillor Liz Townsend, portfolio holder for planning.
She said: “I’d just like to confirm the we have received confirmation that the hearing of the legal challenge of the adoption of the local plan part two will take place in person at the Royal Courts of Justice on the 7th and 8th of November this year.”
The hearing, she said, was scheduled to last for two days, adding “obviously I will be attending along with officers”.
In order to be adopted the plan had to be signed off by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities appointed planning inspector.
The Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2) fleshed out ‘Development Management’ policies, and included a review of local designations. It also allocated sites needed for housing or other uses in Waverley.
Speaking in August when the legal bid was launched, Cllr Liz Townsend, said: “We are extremely disappointed that the challenge has been allowed to proceed to a hearing.
“The adoption of LPP2 was a really positive step for our communities and a considerable achievement for the council.
“The planning arguments were fully scrutinised at the public examination, and, although it is not unusual for a plan to be challenged, it is nonetheless very frustrating and will undoubtedly divert resources away from other important planning work.
“Both the council and the Secretary of State have given a robust response to the challenge, and we will defend the adoption of LPP2 at the hearing. We will continue to give the adopted LPP2 full weight in planning decisions until such a time as the High Court decides otherwise.”