The wheels have been set in motion for a legal battle between two local councils which could affect planning decisions across the country.
On Tuesday, Angmering Parish Council wrote a letter to the High Court in London seeking a judicial review into Arun District Council’s decision to approve a development at Broadlees, between Dappers Lane and Water Lane, and nine houses in Arundel Road.
We are trying everything we can to defend the policies contained within the neighbourhood plan. They were good policies and we stand by themParish cleck Rob Martin
These were made by Arun’s planning committee without consulting the parish neighbourhood plan – a legally-binding document which sets out the residents’ vision of the village.
A decision about whether the case will be heard is expected by February 1. If it is heard, then the outcome of the case will form part of planning law used in future trials.
At a parish council meeting on Monday evening, clerk Rob Martin said a barrister had been briefed on the situation and believed Arun’s decisions would be quashed if it went to a review.
Mr Martin said: “We are trying everything we can to defend the policies contained within the neighbourhood plan. They were good policies and we stand by them.”
Councillors also voted to increase the precept paid by most villagers by £10, partly in response to the judicial review. After the meeting, Mr Martin explained that the legal battle ‘could cost the council £40,000 if it lost’ – but that it was a fight worth fighting given the national implications.
A working party of parish councillors and external members was also set up to scrutinise Arun’s local plan – where it wanted new houses built – and ensure Angmering was not over-developed.
Independent planning consultant Lindsay Frost spoke at the meeting, and said that Arun District Council had a ‘very difficult job’ in meeting its target of a five year housing supply.
It currently has less than half of that timescale, he said, which meant the ‘balance of power’ was with developers – but he was surprised to hear that Arun had ignored the parish neighbourhood plan.
He added that Angmering was in a ‘good position with an up-to-date neighbourhood plan, which helps immensely’.
One resident from Ham Manor said: “It was informative, but I felt that our parish councillors seem to be swimming against the tide; we are not being consulted by Arun, we are being dictated to.”
A spokesperson for Arun District Council said: “Angmering Parish Council has decided to apply to challenge two planning applications, which were approved by Arun District Council, at Judicial Review, as it is entitled to do.
“We feel it in inappropriate to comment while this matter is ongoing due to legal reasons, but will be more than happy to issue a statement once the case has come to a conclusion.”
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