Landmark ruling in Islington: What does it mean?

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The Institute of Chartered Surveyors will soon be addressing affordable housing requirements in their national guidance, reports the Islington Gazette.

This comes after a recent landmark High Court judgement ruling that developers can’t overpay for land and subsequently refuse to abide by local authority planning policies on affordable housing on the grounds of profit loss.

The announcement comes in response to an open letter by Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Housing and Development and James Murray, London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development .

The High Court made the ruling in April after Parkhurst Road Ltd purchased the Territorial Army site next to Holloway prison and then tried to renege on their affordable housing obligations. They brought the case against Islington Council as well as the Ministry of Communities and Local Government.

At the close of the Parkhurst Road Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and London Borough of Islington case, the judge told the Institute of Chartered Surveyors to amend their guidance so that cases such as these are not escalated to the courtroom.

Although in 2016 Islington Council adopted a rule whereby they only recognise the genuine value of a site in the planning process, by that time the land has already been bought using a surveyor’s valuation, which will be based on the Royal Institute’s guidance. If Islington council reject the application the developer can then appeal setting off a lengthy legal process. The new national guidance on viability assessments will prevent more cases going to the courts.

In January this year Islington Council adopted planning guidance which stated that any future development on the Holloway prison site must include 50 per cent genuinely affordable housing. You can read Diarmaid Ward’s article about the implications the High Court ruling has for the Holloway prison site here.