Cheshire East Council is to seek a judicial review over the planning inspectorate’s decision in April to approve an application from Rowland Homes for a 96-home development at Elworth Hall Farm.
The authority said that it had requested that top legal counsel advise the Council about the potential for a realistic judicial review of the decision, and has now announced that it believes it does have scope to review.
In April planning inspector M Middleton upheld the appeal by Rowland Homes for a 96-home development at Elworth Hall Farm in Sandbach.
In the appeal decision letter dated 11 April, the planning inspector identified issues with the council’s proposed pipeline of housing, pointing out that 40% of houses assumed to be delivered within five years do not have planning permission. The document also said that “their early development is by no means a certainty” and that “significant infrastructure requirements will undoubtedly cause delays”.
The council refused a planning application by Rowland Homes in February 2013. As part of the public inquiry the council provided the planning inspectorate with a document outlining its revised five-year land position. The council has lost a string of housing appeals at inquiry in the past two years as inspectors found it could not meet the legal requirement to show five years of deliverable housing plots.
Cheshire East Council said that it vigorously contests these claims.
Cllr Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This was a very important planning decision, which was produced in a way which left many members of the public concerned.
“I am pleased to see that we will be asking a judge to review this decision – especially on the issue of our having a five-year supply of housing land.
“I have always promised the people of Sandbach, and of Cheshire East as a whole, that we will do everything we can to defend our greenbelt and green gap spaces – and this is no exception.
“We are committed to protect our countryside from unplanned, unwanted and unsustainable development.”
In December, Cheshire East served papers in the High Court challenging the planning inspector’s decision to approve Seddon Homes and Taylor Wimpey’s joint development of 160 homes at Congleton Road in Sandbach. The Council’s appeal was dismissed by the High Court yesterday.