Urban planning instruments have been annulled by the Courts in application of “the principle of sustainable territorial and urban development”.

The High Court of Justice of Madrid, in its ruling of 15 December 2017, annulled the urban plan of Moraleja de Enmedio (Madrid) –which had been approved by administrative silence—, because it clearly violated the principle of sustainable territorial and urban development, as set out in article 3  of the Land and Urban Rehabilitation Act (Text Refós de la Llei de Sòl i Rehabilitació Urbana)

The implementation of that general plan would mean an increase of 6,332 dwellings for the period 2010 to 2025, which could accommodate 22,162 more people, whereas for the period 1996 to 2009 there had only been a growth of 2,423 inhabitants.

The appellants had provided the Report of the Directorate General of Urban Planning of 13 December 2010. This report considered it necessary for the Plan to provide for a lower territorial occupation, in accordance with the limitations imposed in the final environmental analysis report of 8 May 2008, which had reported negatively on the urban growth model proposed.

The Court concludes that the proposed growth design clearly violates the principle of sustainable territorial and urban development, because it does not respond to a real and predictable population growth.

This ruling is relevant because it is not very common to apply so clearly this general principle that must govern public policies related to the regulation, planning, occupation, transformation and use of land, as indicated in the same article 3.

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