Saturday, August 15, 2020

Judge backs council’s decision to grant permission for housing scheme

The High Court Judge has ruled that Melton Borough Council’s decision to grant permission for a housing scheme in December 2018 was correctly made.

Cllr Leigh Higgins, Deputy Leader of the Council said “This is a welcome decision, which provides us with assurance that the Planning Committee is discharging its duties correctly. The Committee has a wide discretion in planning matters and we will continue to robustly defend properly made decisions against challenges of this nature.

“I am pleased to hear that, after the Judge noted that legal proceedings were not the correct solution, the developer has been proactively engaging and consulting with the Parish Council regarding the planning and building process, in an attempt to minimise the impact of the development as far as possible.”

The site is situated within Great Dalby and had been allocated for housing developments in the Local Plan, following which the Planning Committee approved an application for outline planning permission for the construction of up to 35 houses.

The Parish Council challenged the decision on the grounds that the Council had not paid due attention to conservation issues and/or followed its Local Plan policy applicable to the site.

Both grounds of challenge were rejected by the Judge and the previous decision made by the Council was upheld.

Costs were subsequently awarded in favour of Melton Borough Council. Cllr Higgins commented further: “The significant costs awarded to the Council from this ruling do not cover the time and resources incurred having to defend this challenge.

“It is a great shame that the local people of Great Dalby and Burton Lazers are landed with these large legal bills arising from the action taken by the Parish Council. In this case, the wider Melton Borough taxpayer interest needed to be defended and the Council was duty bound to protect these interests.

“The Council will continue to work proactively with its Parish Councils to find solutions that work for the people of Melton in an attempt to avoid these types of situations going forward.

“Never before have pressures on public finances been so great and I make a plea to those of us entrusted with public funds to make sure we use them to benefit our communities especially during this difficult time.”

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