West Norfolk Council challenges planning inspector’s decision with judicial review

Incinerator costings press conference held by Henry Bellingham MP, Liz Truss MP and Nick Daubney the Leader of the Council. ENGANL00120140131161847
Incinerator costings press conference held by Henry Bellingham MP, Liz Truss MP and Nick Daubney the Leader of the Council. ENGANL00120140131161847

West Norfolk Council is launching a judicial review to challenge a planning inspector’s decision to grant permission for 40 homes in Clenchwarton.

The council says it has a strong case to overturn planning inspector KD Barton’s decision to grant permission for Elm Park Holdings to construct 40 homes in Fosters Sports Ground, Main Road.

This decision could have serious ramifications for the area as developers could use it to try to push ahead with building on inappropriate sites.

Within the planning appeal decision, the inspector states that the council has 1.91 year housing supply and not 7.51 as the authority argues.

A council spokesman said: “The implications of this decision are potentially significant and could leave the council open to further challenges from developers seeking to push forward inappropriate and unwanted sites for which the council has not granted consent.

“In effect, the policies the council has in place which restrict or specify locations are deemed to be out of date and locations previously considered to be unacceptable become real possibilities for development. The presumption for applications will be in favour of sustainable development and whilst the council may refuse such applications as not sustainable, appeals (along with the associated costs) become more likely.

“The council strongly disagrees with the inspector’s findings which are very different to the findings of the inspector on a previous appeal on this site in 2012. It also believes that the process of this planning appeal was seriously flawed and, given the ramifications of the decision, feels that it should challenge the inspector’s decision through a judicial review. Having sought the advice of counsel, the council believes it has a strong case.

“By taking this course of action, it effectively means that the inspector’s decision is held in abeyance until the outcome of the Judicial Review is known.”

The council is currently going through the process of having a local plan, which is a blueprint for development, adopted.

Leader of the council, Nick Daubney says the judicial review could take some time.

He said of the planning inspector’s decision: “The local plan has been submitted for inspection.

“What we don’t want to happen is where many councillors rush these things through without proper consideration.

“We have correctly devised the plan which is why we are confident it will be accepted.

“We have taken a decision with proper advice which is why we believe the inspector has got it wrong and we are going for a judicial review.”

But Paul Foster, the borough council’s UKIP group leader, has expressed concerns about the impact of the planning inspector’s decision.

He said: “If the planning inspector is correct, it is a serious situation.

“It could potentially open up the floodgates .”