Developer fails in legal bid to stop vote on neighbourhood plan

A housebuilder has failed in its legal bid to block a neighbourhood plan referendum taking place tomorrow in a Buckinghamshire town.

Winslow 'Yes' vote campaigners at the High Court in Manchester. Pic: Winslow Town Council
Winslow 'Yes' vote campaigners at the High Court in Manchester. Pic: Winslow Town Council

Gladman Developments was yesterday refused permission by the High Court for an injunction to prevent a vote on the Winslow neighbourhood plan.

Prepared by Winslow Town Council, the plan allocates five sites for 455 new homes up to 2031, more than five hectares of employment land, plus educational and community facilities.

Gladman is involved in two outstanding planning appeals, for 211 homes and 100 homes, relating to land in the Winslow neighbourhood plan area but outside the sites allocated in the document.

The firm is also seeking permission for a judicial review to overturn Aylesbury Vale District Council’s decision to allow the plan to proceed to referendum.

In a statement, Aylesbury Vale Council said: "Following a hearing at Manchester’s High Court [yesterday], the application for the injunction was dismissed.

"The referendum [tomorrow] will give Winslow residents the chance to have their say on whether they want the future development of the town to be in the hands of the neighbourhood plan until 2031."

"The judge ruled that the clear balance of convenience lay in favour of not granting the injunction," a council spokesman added.

Llew Monger, town councillor and chairman of the neighbourhood plan steering group, said: "Obviously, we are delighted at the outcome and the community can now go ahead and express their view on the plan.

"We expect a very high turnout and a vote in favour of the plan.

"We are disappointed that the plan is nonetheless subject to a judicial review. It puts great pressure on what is a very small town council."

According to Monger, Gladman argued that if the plan was approved in a referendum and subsequently made, it would affect the outcome of their two outstanding appeals.

But the judge ruled that the developer had recourse to other options in the event of this, Monger added, and it would not be in the public interest to cancel the referendum.

Planning asked Gladman for a comment, but the firm had not responded by the time of publication.

The plan’s examination was due to take place in February, but was delayed by the examiner Nigel McGurk after a legal objection from Gladman making similar arguments.

It was restarted by McGurk in April after the publication of the government’s Planning Practice Guidance was felt to have resolved the issues of contention.

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