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

15 minutes ago
Supermarket trolley

The revelation has been heralded as a ‘blessing in disguise’ by the town’s chamber of commerce chairman.

Read more
16 minutes ago

Are your children addicted to TV or computer games? Do they rarely stir from the sofa? Are they getting enough exercise? With the children back at school this week, it’s the perfect time for them to get fitter.

Read more
07:39
Exeter Magistrates' Court

Woman left upset after pensioner exposed himself

Read more
Yesterday, 17:06
Honiton Christmas lights in 2013. Ref mhh 0083-50-12AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.midweekherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Several collections will be made outside Tesco in Honiton.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:30

The incident happened on Sunday, August 30, between 3.30am and 4am in Kings Road.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:15
Seaton’s royal party (left to right)  Princess Erin Ellis, Carnival Queen Jenny Weber and Princess Haley Jones. Rear:  gardener, broadcaster and writer Anne Swithinbank who crowned the Carnival Queen
Mrs Jacqueline Bayless (nee Powling) who was the Carnival Queen 50 years ago and presented the cups to this year’s Royal Party. Photo IAN BARRADALE

Golden jubilee trio receive their cups from the town’s first carnival queen of 50 years ago - Jacqueline Bayless

Read more
Mon, 16:44
Sitting pretty on a pink tractor is two and a half Lottie York at the Honiton Hill Rally. Ref mhh 9350-36-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Pictures:

Read more
Mon, 08:12
Lyme Regis Lifeboat

RIB comes to the rescue before Lyme Regis lifeboat crew carry pair to the safety of the harbour

Read more
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Dame Hilary Mantel: 'As I work my way through the third book it often feels as exciting as the first day I started'

Speaking ahead of the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival, of which she is president, the Wolf Hall author recalls the first time she visited the East Devon town as a teenager.

Read more
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Honiton Chamber of Commerce chairman Colin Wright.

Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce chairman Colin Wright says the move will bring more light to the town centre.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 8°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

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

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

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


Honiton's trusted business finder