In our blog of 3 September 2020, we brought you news of the challenge to the recent changes to the Use Classes Order and the Permitted Development Rights (“PDR”) regime.
The action group bringing the claim sought to quash the statutory instruments which bring about the changes to the Use Classes Order (including the introduction of the much-vaunted new Class E) and PDR (in particular granting rights to provide new residential units in a variety of types of development).
The claim was heard in mid-October. This morning, just over a month on, the High Court handed down its judgment.
In what will be a relief to the government, the challenge failed. The High Court found that the adoption of the changes to the Use Classes Order and the reforms to PDR was legal, and the new rules remain in force.
Although the Court found that the government had failed to carry out consultation, which it had promised to do, this wasn’t considered to be fatal to the reforms. The particular circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic were held to be adequate justification for this failure – even though the changes to the Use Classes Order and the PDR regime could remain in force long after the pandemic ends.
On the face of it, the High Court’s decision is positive news for a property industry navigating its way through some of the choppiest trading conditions in living memory.
However, the action group bringing the claim has said it will appeal the decision. In that context, those dealing with use clauses in leases may wish to see where any appeal goes before they commit to referencing the new use classes.
We’ll keep you abreast of developments and your usual Hogan Lovells contact will be able to advise on the best approaches in the meantime.