Posted by Marcus Mabberley.
Following legal advice from a leading planning QC, Swindon Borough Council will seek to challenge in the High Court the decision of the Planning Inspector who recently granted an appeal by a developer to build up to 100 homes at Berkeley Farm in Wroughton.
The appeal by Ainscough Strategic Land followed the refusal of the application by the council’s Planning Committee. The appeal was heard over four days last November and the inspector overturned the committee’s decision.
The legal challenge to the inspector’s decision will be brought under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The advice received by the council is that the Planning Inspector erred in law in two respects.
Firstly, that he has failed to properly apply the legal test under section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, which requires that planning decisions are made by having regard to a local authority’s Local Plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
Secondly, that he has misdirected himself in law by suggesting in his report that the level of the shortfall in the Council’s required five-year housing land supply is immaterial to his decision.
Cllr Toby Elliott, Swindon Borough Council cabinet member for Communities and Strategic Planning, said: “The planning inspector’s decision is a disastrous one and we must stand up for local people and the integrity of the Local Plan process by challenging it. I am pleased that the legal advice we have been given supports this position.
“I hope this announcement gives the residents of Wroughton, who came together and produced a neighbourhood plan for their area, confidence that the Council is doing everything it can to challenge the planning inspector’s decision.”
Last updated: 12 February 2016 at 11:38 am