Housebuilder challenges Rochford core strategy

A housebuilder has launched a legal challenge against Rochford District Council’s key core strategy planning document.

Rochford: housbuilder claims council has violated environmental law
Rochford: housbuilder claims council has violated environmental law
Cogent Land LLP is seeking to quash certain policies in the document including those relating to the allocation of land for new homes, the extension of several existing settlements and key paragraphs which relate to housing supply.

In 2010 Cogent, then known as Colonnade Land, made a legal challenge against secretary of state Eric Pickles claiming its plans to develop 326 homes on land it owns at Coombes Farm in east Rochford were wrongly refused by him on the back of his decision to revoke regional strategies. Despite Pickles conceding that he had erred in judgement, Colonnade later withdrew its plans.

A fresh application for 250 homes at the site, which is not allocated for housing in the council’s core strategy, is currently being considered by the council.

A statement on the council’s website said the rest of the core strategy was "unaffected by this challenge".

"Until the challenge is determined, the whole of the core strategy has full effect as adopted".

A spokesman for Cogent Land said it had been a "committed participant who has involved itself at all stages of the Core Strategy process between 2008 and 2011, including at the Examination in Public".  

He added: "Cogent Land is challenging Rochford Council’s adoption on the basis that the Council has acted unlawfully on a number of grounds.  It is extremely disappointed in the Council’s action, as Cogent Land has consistently advised the Council of its concerns during the course of the Core Strategy process, and did so on the basis of detailed legal advice. Cogent Land now feels that it has been left with little choice but to pursue this matter by recourse to the courts. It hopes that Rochford Council acknowledge that key elements of the process leading to adoption of the Core Strategy were fundamentally flawed, and that the Council be willing to remedy this through a recommencement of the housing chapter in a fair and proper way.

"Application has been made to the Cardiff Civil Justice Centre. As the claim has significant implications for planning decisions made by the Council insofar as they relate to the provision of housing within its administrative area and, as such, it is imperative that this matter is determined as soon as is reasonably practicable"

Rochford’s core strategy was formally adopted by the Council on 13 December 2011 following the Planning Inspectorate's decision that the plan was sound and legally compliant.

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