Developers have been granted permission to build 400 homes on a greenfield site despite local objections.
The case involved Bewley Homes PLC, which wanted to develop a 46-hectare site near Guildford.
The local borough council granted planning permission even though its local plan restricted development in the countryside beyond the green belt.
The site was in the administrative area of Ash Parish Council, which objected to the development and sought a judicial review. The officer report advising the borough council stated that the proposed development conflicted with the local plan and would have a significant and adverse effect on the landscape.
However, the report also stated that no weight should be given to the local plan because it pre-dated the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which favoured sustainable development. The report added that planning permission should be granted because the adverse impacts did not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.
Planning permission was then granted by a narrow majority.
The parish council sought a judicial review, claiming the borough council had been given misleading advice about the weight that should be attached to the local plan in relation to the national framework.
The court accepted that the planning officer’s report was not a model of clarity and sometimes gave mixed messages. However, it could not be said that the councillors had been misled. They were entitled to conclude that planning permission should be granted as the adverse did not outweigh the benefits.
The application for a judicial review was therefore rejected.
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