Council to challenge Pickles' approval of Shottery plans

Stratford-on-Avon District Council has announced that it will contest communities secretary Eric Pickles' decision to allow a development of up to 800 homes to be built near to the childhood home of William Shakespeare's wife.

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage: heritage site
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage: heritage site
Pickles granted permission for the development at Shottery in a decision letter issued last month.

Stratford-on-Avon District Council had rejected the application, submitted by developers J S Bloor (Tewkesbury) and Hallam Land Management, in September 2011.

The council claimed the application would be premature pending the adoption of its local development framework and said that the proposals would cause visual and noise harm to the setting of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, a heritage site. But Pickles agreed with his inspector that permission should be granted.

Yesterday, a meeting of Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s regulatory committee voted unanimously in support of a recommendation to challenge the decision in the High Court.

A council statement said that it would "contest" Pickles’ decision "based on legal advice". Papers before the committee asked members to consider whether to challenge the decision in the High Court, or take no further action.

Chris Williams, chairman of the council’s regulatory committee, said: "The committee was unanimous in its decision, showing full support for the course of action."

Speaking last month after Pickles issued his decision letter, council leader Chris Saint said the decision was "bitterly disappointing".

He said: "JS Bloor have relentlessly pursued Stratford-on-Avon District Council over many years until they got what they wanted. The appeal system clearly made us vulnerable, which does seem against the government's objectives of localism."

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