Axminster Carpets’ plan for 400 homes can go ahead

16:46 20 January 2013

Fred Wells , founder chairman of Save Our Parkland which has lost its legal challenge to 400 homes being built at Axminster

Fred Wells , founder chairman of Save Our Parkland which has lost its legal challenge to 400 homes being built at Axminster's Cloakham Lawns. Photo by Chris Carson

Archant

Judge upholds district council’s planning approval for Cloakham Lawns housing scheme

A legal challenge to planning permission granted to Axminster Carpets for a massive housing development at the town’s Cloakham Lawns has been dismissed by a High Court Judge.

The ruling means that the consent granted by East Devon District Council (EDDC) in March 2011 was lawful and the developers can now proceed with their plans to build up to 400 homes, of which 40 per cent will be affordable.

The group who brought the Judicial Review into the council’s decision – Save Our Parkland Appeal Ltd (SOP) – must pay £10,000 towards EDDC’s costs for successfully defending the review. Their liability is limited through a Protected Costs Order, so any remaining costs, as yet not finalised, must be borne by the council tax payers of East Devon.

Commenting on the successful outcome for EDDC, Councillor Mark Williamson, Chairman of the Development Management (planning) Committee, said: “It is right that the democratic process should be followed, because the public have a right to challenge decisions if they feel they are flawed.

“In this case, the council’s action has been held up to intense legal scrutiny and has been found to be completely sound. That not only vindicates our decision but is good news in the sense that it enables much-needed housing – especially affordable homes – to be built at the eastern end of the district.”

The case turned on whether the council was right to grant planning permission for the 400 homes at a time when its existing Local Plan was in the process of being replaced by a new plan that would form part of the Local Development Framework (LDF) and whether the council gave too much weight to its emerging planning policy document.

The LDF has since reverted to the original name of Local Plan, but the new planning policy document is still in draft form and may not be adopted until 2014. The new Draft Local Plan does show a significant housing allocation in the Cloakham Lawns area of Axminster and this was already proposed when the application was considered in 2011.

However, SOP maintained that it was premature for EDDC to permit the Cloakham Lawns development because at the time of the committee decision a preferred options document was being consulted upon.

His Honour Judge Sycamore disagreed and ruled that the council had acted correctly in having one eye on the proposed allocation when it considered the application. The Judge also upheld the actions of the planning officer who recommended to councillors on the development management committee that they should grant permission.

Quoting case law in his judgment report, HH Judge Sycamore said: “If there is one principle of planning law more firmly settled than any other, it is that matters of planning judgment are within the exclusive province of the local planning authority or the Secretary of State”.

He continued: “A claim for Judicial Review will not normally merit consideration unless the overall effect of the (planning officer’s) report is to significantly mislead the committee about material matters. The author of the report is entitled to assume a knowledgeable readership and that members have particular knowledge of both the planning policy context and the local area”.

HH Judge Sycamore concluded: “Neither of the grounds of claim establishes any error of law on the part of the defendant (EDDC) in granting the outline planning permission. Accordingly, the claim is dismissed”.

Councillor Williamson added: “This ruling not only settles the future of an important development site in Axminster; it also demonstrates that the council is correct in dealing with planning applications whilst the new Local Plan is still being worked on, rather than delaying progress with vital homes until the Local Plan has been signed off.

“This ties in with the very strong guidance we are getting from central government that the housing drought has to end and that planning authorities should say yes to sustainable development”.

* SOP have indicated that they are seeking leave to appeal against the judgment.

Spokesman Paul Arnott told The Herald: “It’s disappointing but not the end.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 17:45
Lyme Regis lifeboat

Lifeboat crew, coastguards and paramedics called to cliffs beneath Black Ven

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00

A pair of blood-giving sessions will be held at St Rita’s Centre in Honiton later this month.

Read more
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Philip Rush from AVS Wines and Beers presents the silver award to Patrick McCaig from Otter Brewery.

A beer which is brewed near Honiton has won silver in the ‘Strong Bitters and Pale Ales’ class of a prestigious beer contest.

Read more
Saturday, May 2, 2015
The Thelma Hulbert Gallery

A musical workshop is being at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery at the beginning of next month.

Read more
Saturday, May 2, 2015
The Honiton Beehive. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref mhh 2243-34-14AW

Members of Honiton University of The Third Age will be treated to an African-inspired talk at their May meeting.

Read more
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Jason Pike is in training for his trek across Wales on bicycle and on foot in aid of St John Ambulance. Ref mhh 4652-18-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

A Honiton-born man is hoping to net thousands of pounds for charity when he and five others take on a gruelling five-day-long trek across the Welsh mountains.

Read more
Friday, May 1, 2015
Russell Roe, Gill Day, Dave Webber and Daniel Lavery of The Devon Freewheelers with the new Sausage and Cider Festival poster. Ref mhh 1904-13-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

DrinkAware has come up with five tips to make sure you have a great - and safe - experience at this year’s festival.

Read more
Friday, May 1, 2015
East Devon Slot Racing Club members have found a new home at Awliscombe.

The group was established in the late 1980s, originally in a loft above offices in New Street, Honiton.

Read more
Friday, May 1, 2015
Colyton tractor run 2014. David Pavey and his children Erin and Elana. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref mha 3428-22-14AW. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.midweekherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

More than 100 agricutural vehicles expected to take part in this year’s rally

Read more
Thursday, April 30, 2015
The Honiton Beehive. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref mhh 2243-34-14AW

Peter Halse summarised the council’s year at a town meeting.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Midweek Herald e-edition today E-edition



Honiton's trusted business finder