Suffolk Coastal faces two court dates to combat challenges over housing
PUBLISHED: 06:23 07 January 2015
Lawyers representing a council are set for two trips to the High Court this month to face challenges to vital planning decisions.
Suffolk Coastal’s first date in court in London is January 20 when it will defend its refusal to allow 26 new homes at Yoxford, and then it will return on January 21 or 22 for an appeal in connection with previous legal action taken against its blueprint for the future of the district.
Leave to appeal has been granted to No Adastral New Town Ltd ( NANT) against the High Court’s dismissal of the campaign group’s case last year over the council’s Core Strategy.
At the heart of the strategy are plans for 7,900 new homes – including 2,000 new homes plus other development on land at BT’s Adastral Park complex at Martlesham Heath.
The appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) at the Royal Courts of Justice on either January 21 or 22.
A council spokesman said: “We understand that the precise date of the hearing is dependant on the progress of other Court of Appeal cases in January – we may not know which day until the beginning of the week or possibly the day before the earlier date.”
The council has described the court’s decision to allow an appeal as “extremely disappointing” and says it has made it more difficult for the council when considering applications for housing developments.
Geoff Holdcroft, cabinet member for planning, said: “Although the Local Plan has a huge amount of debate and discussion, especially in relation to the potential development of homes and jobs at BT Adastral Park, it has previously been found sound by an independent planning inspector.
“There is a clear need to have a policy framework in place to properly plan for the needed homes and jobs and we will continue to strongly argue our position on this matter.
“We are confident that we have the right strategy, with all the supporting evidence and processes properly undertaken, to deliver the 7,900 homes, including affordable homes, as well as the supporting jobs and infrastructure to meet the needs of our district over the next 15 years.”
NANT has claimed the council failed to properly assess the impact of new housing on the River Deben and surrounding area.
The case concerning Yoxford follows a legal challenge by Hopkins Homes against a planning inspector’s decision to uphold Suffolk Coastal’s rejection of its project.
Normally the secretary of state would defend his inspector’s decision in the High Court, but the minister has decided not to defend the legal challenge – leaving the council to go to court to fight the case itself.
Planning inspector Tim Wood concluded that the housing posed “unacceptable effects that were not outweighed by any benefits”, but Hopkins Homes said the judgement was “inconsistent” with other decisions and called for it to be overturned.