I have posted here the judgment by Mr Justice Hickinbottom in the High Court of Justice on 30 April 2014 in the appeal by Gallagher Homes Ltd and Lioncourt Homes Ltd in respect of two sites within the Local Development Plan which was returned to the green belt in the LDP. Final Gallagher v Solihull MBC highlighted (highlights are not mine). I also highlight here a previous post on this website about the sites and judicial review: https://cllrkenhawkins.co.uk/2014/01/10/local-developmemnt-plan-judicial-review/
Mr Justice Hickinbottom allows the appeal and his judgement, which runs over 49 pages relates to decisions the Planning Inspector made in relation to forming his judgements of the local plan. I do not profess to be a planning or legal expect so I will not try to interpret the judgment in any specific way. Do I have concerns about the judgement ? Yes. How does the judgement affect the LDP itself? I don’t know.
What seems to be clear in the judgment is the judge makes comments about the planning inspector who oversaw the local plan, in effect recommending its adoption to the relative government department. Comments include – the need to have started off with a figure of 14,000 homes for the borough instead of the 11,000 identified in the LDP and also (specifically regarding Tidbury Green) the decision to return Lowbrook Farm and Tidbury Green Farm to the green belt – when the same planning inspector retained both farms for possible housing developments when he last oversaw planning in the borough (as part of the old Unitary Development Plan).
The judgement refers (in in the last sentence) giving both parties 7 days to come to some sort of order. This time period comes to an end early this week so I will be able to provide residents with more information. It is possible the Council may appeal against the judgment.
I suspect there has been a great deal of activity in the last few days, with meetings between the QC acting for the council and senior officers from the council. If there is an opportunity for an appeal I shall certainly urge that route. It seems quite ironic that the local council is spending money defending decisions made by the planning inspectorate. The matter is very technical, but very serious. How it affects Tidbury Green, indeed the local plan itself has yet to be determined.
I shall though update this website as soon as I here anything else in respect of the matter. Please feel to make comment here or email me if you have specific questions.