Judicial Review of Winslow Neighbourhood Plan held 11-12 December
Winslow residents filled two 16-seater buses as they travelled to the Royal Courts of Justice to hear the Judicial Review of the WNP plan-making process. Gladman hired Martin Kingston QC – perhaps the foremost planning barrister in the country - to plead their case. They split their claim into 6 separate grounds and need to prove only one of those grounds to get the WNP “quashed”. AVDCs barrister, Hereward Philpott – who has represented AVDC throughout Planning Inspections and the High Court Injunction hearing in Manchester – was able to draw on other relevant case law to try to refute Gladman’s claims. The judge, the Hon. Mr Justice Lewis, was pretty tough on both barristers, encouraging them to draw on “points of law” rather than to go over “old” planning judgement arguments.
He is unlikely to publish his judgement of this very important case until after Xmas – so a nervous wait for Winslow residents.
Glebe Farm Appeal Rejected!
SECRETARY OF STATE REJECTS PLANNING INSPECTOR'S RECOMMENDATION ON GLEBE FARM APPEAL
Excellent news - we have just received a report setting out the results of the Glebe Farm Planning Appeal.
While the Planning Inspector, Mr Clive Sproule, recommended that Gladman’s Appeal be upheld, nevertheless the Secretary of State disagreed with his recommendation, dismissed the appeal and refused planning permission.
This is a further setback for Gladman, as yet again it founders on the rock which is our Winslow Neighbourhood Plan (WNP). As we might have expected, Gladman is to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision on Glebe Farm. They can only do that if they feel that the Secretary of State has erred in law - so it will be yet another High Court challenge (this time against the Secretary of State).
While the Secretary of State accepted a number of the points made by the Inspector, he placed considerable weight on the fact that the WNP had been “made” and the “spatial strategy” encapsulated by the Winslow Settlement Boundary (WSB). The Secretary of State placed “very substantial negative weight on the conflict between the appeal proposal and the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan”; he concluded that “there are no material circumstances that indicate the proposal should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan”.
This is excellent news and bodes well for the “called-in” Appeal on the Little Horwood Road/Sheep Street site (LHR3).
Neil Homer (Winslow Town Council’s planning consultant) commented:
“I see no reason why he [Secretary of State, Eric Pickles] will come to a different view on Gladman’s other Appeal [LHR3] and AVDC should be very grateful that the WNP allowed them to successfully defend an appeal when all other reasons have been dismissed. I am especially heartened by the role that the settlement boundary policy has played in enabling the S.o.S. to regard the Appeal as contrary to the WNP – had we not applied that device here it’s possible he may have been persuaded by Gladman’s argument that its scheme(s) are compatible with the WNP.”
So, another major battle is won , but further battles to come – not least the Judicial Review of the WNP plan-making process at the High Court in London on 11 & 12 December 2014 and the Secretary of State’s decision on Glebe Farm at a date in 2015 still to be decided.
23 Station Road - Verdict
AVDC Decision on 23 Station Road - 23/10/2014
Many thanks to all of you who took the time and trouble to write letters of objection to AVDC - over 90 were received which was a great achievement in the short time we had.
Councillors discussed the planning application at 23, Station Road for nearly two hours but, regrettably, concluded that no "substantial harm" would come to the Winslow Conservation Area from allowing the proposed development. Consequently, the Committee's split decision was to approve the application.
As you can perhaps imagine, the 15 or so Winslow residents who turned up in pink to the Council chamber were very disappointed at the Council's conclusion; it seems rather strange that the loss of nearly 100 trees - of which at least 4 have Tree Preservation Orders - and the erection of flat-roofed garages in a Victorian/Edwardian street scene do not rank as substantial harm to a Conservation Area.
The Committee was under pressure to allow the application as it had previously granted planning permission and this new application differed only in that it included some additional flat-roofed garages. The worst offending of these, which would have been very visible in Station Road, has at least been taken out of the plans - probably due to the large number of objections received.
Another positive aspect of the case is that potential developers such as Gladman can not take any significant comfort from this decision, as the AVDC Councillors were at pains to point out that they were not going against the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan. A number of councillors stated that the policies of the WNP and AVDCLP were consistent and that their decision boiled down to a judgement as to what constituted "harm". Obviously their overall judgement differed from that of many Winslow residents.
Once again, many thanks for all the efforts which have been put in by residents of Winslow - the next step is the Judicial Review of the WNP on 11/12 December in London.
Another Threat to the WNP - 23 Station Road
Written objections needed by 21 October 2014
Another Threat to the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan – the 5th application for the development of 23 Station Road, which is in the Winslow Conservation Area.
In July this year, AVDC gave planning permission for a development of 10 houses in the Winslow Conservation Area at 23 Station Road, even though AVDC’s Historic Buildings Officer said that the development would harm the Conservation Area. The Winslow Neighbourhood Plan does not allow development that harms the Winslow Conservation Area and in planning law there is a presumption against giving permission to any development that harms a conservation area.
A legal challenge was launched by a neighbour which was successful. AVDC, on legal advice, decided not to defend the challenge and the planning permission is therefore in the process of being quashed. However, the developer has now submitted an almost identical application (but with an additional 5 flat-roofed garages, a double garage would front Station Road and be completely at odds with the Victorian street scene!). This time a different AVDC Historic Buildings Officer has indicated the development does not harm the Conservation Area!!
This means that AVDC will try to side-step the policy in the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan that would stop the development.
Winslow Town Council objected to the proposal because the planned development is not appropriate for the Conservation Area and is understandably angered by AVDC’s treatment of this application because it opens the door for other, bigger developers to argue that the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan is irrelevant because even AVDC don’t pay any attention to it.
- The development would harm the Conservation Area
- Flat-roofed garages are not in keeping with the architecture of the nearby Victorian buildings
- The development goes against Policy 5 in the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan
- The loss of 100 trees including 4 protected ones is unacceptable
- The planned new road junction will result in the loss of parking capacity on Station Road
- The existing house at 23 Station Road is an important historic building and its partial demolition is unacceptable
- The density of the new development is not in keeping with the pattern of development in the Conservation Area
Personalise the complaint note by mentioning those things you feel most strongly about, remembering to mention that the application is contrary to Policy 5 of the WNP. A note in your own words of a couple of short paragraphs will suffice but by all means write a longer objection if you wish. But remember, a short email is better than nothing!
Winslow Town Council is trying to reach the target of 100 objections in order to enable more residents to deliver submissions to the Development Management Committee on 23rd October. The sooner you send in your objection the better please.
Little Horwood Road Planning Appeal Enquiry Result could be Months Away
After five days of submissions and cross-examination by barristers, consultants, Winslow residents and town councillors the Little Horwood Road planning inquiry closed on Tuesday 16th September. The inquiry was held following an appeal by Gladman Developments against a decision by AVDC to refuse permission for 100 homes on land between Little Horwood Road and Shipton. Two previous attempts by Gladman to build 200 and then 175 homes on the land have been refused at appeals. The Winslow Neighbourhood Plan, which was approved by AVDC councillors on the second day of the inquiry (see here) will now be a key consideration. The Planning Inspector, Mr. John Fellgate, said he could not indicate when the outcome would be known as he will have to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State (Eric Pickles) who will make the final decision. The appeal has been called-in by the Secretary of State because of the conflict with the WNP which excludes development to the east of Little Horwood road.
Gladman’s barrister called for the decision to be delayed until after the result of the Judicial Review (see here) of the WNP is known. As the JR is not until 11th and 12th December it is unlikely that we will know the outcome until well into the New Year. By then the results of three major planning appeals in Aylesbury are due so that too, could have an effect on the final decision. We’ll keep you posted as things develop.