Parish council's High Court bid thrown out

A parish council's High Court legal challenge against a controversial village housing project has been thrown out.

Friday, 11th August 2017, 11:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:57 am
DM16152900a.jpg. Angmering parish councillors angry over overriding of neighbourhood plan by Arun District Council. Charman Susan Francis and L to R Roger Phelon, Bill Evans, Steven Mountain, John Oldfield and Mike Hill-Smith. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160811-133115008

Arun District Council granted planning permission for nine new homes between New Place Bungalow and Arundel Road, Angmering, in December.

The parish council opposed the decision as it was contrary to the village’s neighbourhood plan, and applied for a judicial review to challenge the decision in the High Court.

However, permission was refused in the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, with judges labelling the application ‘totally without merit’.

A statement on the parish council’s website said: “It is apparent that the objectives and aspirations of a community that has engaged fully with the neighbourhood planning process, as laid down in law, will be treated as subordinate to the objectives of developers.

“This is disappointing, but not surprising, given the importance attached to housebuilding by central government.

“It is also disappointing that policies in Angmering’s made neighbourhood plan can be overridden by Arun District Council’s failure to produce a robust local plan; this has negative implications for other towns and parishes in Arun District with made neighbourhood plans.

“The parish council will, however, continue to uphold Angmering’s neighbourhood plan to the best of its ability,”

The parish council raised its precept by £10 for most villagers, partly to provide a fighting fund for the legal challenge.

Clerk Rob Martin told the Gazette the battle had cost £35,400 in legal fees – plus a total of £10,000 costs to Arun and the case’s interested parties.

A separate ruling on another application, Broadlees, is expected soon.

Parish councillor Steven Mountain said the decision had ‘at least provided some legal clarity to what can and can’t happen’.

A spokesman for Arun District Council said: “Arun District Council are pleased with the judgement that confirms that the decision taken by the council was the correct one. The decision was made in accordance with relevant national planning legislation and, whilst it is understandable that the parish council do not agree with this legislation, it is unfortunate that the challenge has resulted in significant expense and delays.”