South Ribble Borough Council is disappointed with the decision of the England and Wales High Court (published on Friday 21 August 2020 online here) which has quashed the decision of an independent Government Planning Inspector.
Following a public inquiry last year (from 12-15 November 2019), a Government Planning Inspector ruled in favour of South Ribble Borough Council, agreeing that it was the right decision to refuse developer Wainhomes permission to build 100 homes on land off Chain House Lane in Whitestake.
However, this decision was then disputed by the developer and referred to the High Court. The High Court has now published its decision and has ruled that the original Planning Inspector decision was wrong and has been quashed.
This will now result in a second public inquiry taking place with a new, different Planning Inspector in charge of proceedings.
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said:
“We are of course extremely disappointed in the decision from the High Court in this matter. We’re absolutely confident in our position and believe our decision to refuse the development proposal from Wainhomes for 100 houses on Chain House Lane was the right one.
“We are ready and prepared to defend our decision and will do so now through the formal channels.
“We want to make it absolutely clear that as a council we are pro-development – but only when done in the right way, and in a way that is of benefit to our residents and the wider South Ribble community.”
Councillor Bill Evans, Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and City Deal at South Ribble Borough Council, said:
“It is important to note that the overturning of the decision of the Planning Inspectorate in this case was not on the basis of planning merits or policy; it was on the basis of the process taken to reach the decision by the Planning Inspector.
“With this in mind, we are 100% confident in our position and I look forward to taking the next steps to ensure that we can once again defend our decision at a further Public Inquiry.”
The land – off Chain House Lane in Whitestake (marked on the map, right) – had been proposed by Wainhomes as a site for 100 homes. However, South Ribble Borough Council's Planning Commitee determined in June 2019 (click here for minutes; and click here for decision notice) that, because the application site is allocated as safeguarded land through Policy G3 of the current South Ribble Local Plan (adopted July 2015), the application should be refused. In addition, the proposal – due to its nature, scale and permanency – was deemed unnecessary because the council can demonstrate that it has a five-year supply of deliverable housing land elsewhere in the borough.
You can read the council's Local Plan here.