High Court rejects Zurich Assurance challenge to Local Plan

Press Release: 19/03/2014

Winchester City Council and the South Downs National Park Authority have defeated a High Court challenge brought by Zurich Assurance to the adoption of the Winchester District Local Plan Part 1 – Joint Core Strategy.

Zurich, which is promoting a new settlement around Micheldever Station, challenged the City Council and South Downs National Park Authority’s Joint Core Strategy which was adopted in March 2013.

Zurich sought to argue that the Inspector who examined the Core Strategy had made various errors and the local authorities had consequently acted unlawfully in adopting the Plan. All of Zurich’s claims were rejected by the High Court judgement which was handed down by Justice Sales on 18 March, almost exactly a year after the Plan was adopted. The challenge had threatened to de-rail the planning strategy for the District, giving Zurich and others an opportunity to promote development in the absence of an up-to-date Local Plan.

Welcoming the Court’s decision, City Council Portfolio Holder for Built Environment, Cllr Vicki Weston, said:

Whilst we were always confident that the approach we followed in developing our Local Plan with the National Park Authority leading up to its adoption in March 2013 was sound, we very much welcome the fact that this challenge has been dismissed. This decision endorses the way we carried out the plan-making process and is very good news for the District. We now look forward to continuing to work with communities to identify and meet the area’s development needs through the emerging Local Plan Part 2.

The full text of the judgement can be found on the Council’s website: www.winchester.gov.uk/planning-policy/local-plan-part-1/adoption/