Plans for 280 homes boosted by court ruling

Posted: 29th July 2012

A developer’s hopes of building 280 new houses on a greenfield site in Sandbach have been boosted by a Court of Appeal ruling.

Three judges have dismissed an appeal by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government against a High Court ruling that quashed his refusal of planning permission for the development proposed by Fox Strategic Land & Property Ltd (Fox).

FieldsIn the light of the Court of Appeal decision, the Secretary of State will now have to reconsider the planning application he rejected in respect of 15.6 hectares of agricultural land off Abbey Road, Sandbach.

Lord Justice Pill, in dismissing the appeal, said that a specialist planning judge was entitled to quash the decision for the reasons that he gave.

In that ruling, Judge Andrew Gilbart QC had found that the Secretary of State failed properly to take into account his own previous decision in relation to another nearby greenfield site which another company, Richborough Estates, wanted to use for residential development.

The judge said that Richborough had been refused planning permission by the local authority for 269 dwellings on that site and its appeal against that refusal was dismissed by the Secretary of State.

However, when Richborough challenged that decision at the High Court, the Secretary of State consented to his decision being quashed. That happened three weeks after he made his decision in the Fox case.

Judge Gilbart ruled that some of the Secretary of State’s conclusions in the Richborough decision could not be reconciled with his conclusions on similar issues in respect of the Fox decision.

The Court of Appeal ruled that Judge Gilbart was entitled to take the view that he did and dismissed the Secretary of State’s appeal.