Axminster council begins homes plan legal challenge

But there are calls for a referendum before finally committing to the full cost of legal action

AXMINSTER Town Council has begun its legal challenge to the granting of permission for up to 400 homes at Cloakham Lawns.

At their meeting on Monday members agreed to spend up to �2,000 on the first step towards seeking a judicial review.

They voted to send a pre-application letter to East Devon District Council following concerns that it acted “outside the law” in granting Axminster Carpets outline consent to develop the land.

But some councillors were concerned about committing the town to the full process of a judicial review, which could cost local taxpayers up to �30,000.

Councillor Mervyn Symes said a referendum should be held before they took any final decision about whether to proceed.

“It cannot be just the town council’s decision,” he said.

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And Paul Hayward asked whether Axminster Carpets could bring a lawsuit against the town council if it successfully stopped their �100,000 million homes development at Cloakham.

Sue Spiller said: “I do have concerns about whether, if Axminster Carpets were not able to build any, or as many, properties as they have permission for, could they seek compensation from the town council?”

Deputy Mayor Jeremy Walden said there was no way the company could sue the town council.

He said: “Our action is not against Axminster Carpets but the East Devon District Council planning process. If they have a problem legally it is with EDDC and not Axminster town council.”