BREAKING NEWS - West Norfolk Council loses legal challenge to Clenchwarton planning decision

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West Norfolk Council has today lost a High Court challenge to an inspector’s decision to grant planning permission for a housing development in Clenchwarton.

The judgment in London was on a judicial review challenge brought by the authority against the decision earlier this year in which the planning inspector rejected their opposition to the 40 home scheme and gave the green light to Isle of Man based developers Elm Park Holdings.

The site earmarked for the 40 new homes is the disused Fosters sports ground on Main Road.

A planning inspector had previously ruled the project could go ahead because he did not feel the council could demonstrate that it had a five year supply of deliverable housing.

But the authority argued in court that the planning inspector had made a mistake when calculating the housing need in the area.

It claimed that the inspector had wrongly decided that the housing need in the area was greater than the council had calculated.

He took this view on the basis that he considered the council had failed to take into account that many of the homes in the area were bought as second homes and that this effectively reduced the housing stock in the area.

But, dismissing the challenge, the judge, Mr Justice Dove, said the decision was one the inspector had been entitled to make.

He said that it was “the role” of planning inspectors to exercise judgment and take into account local demographic data when making decisions such as this one.

The council faces the possible prospect of having to pay legal costs in respect of the case. No decision has yet been taken on costs but normally those who lose have to pay.

In a statement issued after the ruling, a council spokesman said: “We are obviously disappointed with the judge’s decision and now need to carefully consider the implications of his judgement.”