Editor's pick: Homes decision backed as legally watertight

The High Court has rejected a challenge to an inspector's refusal of permission for eight dwellings in Nottinghamshire after concluding that it was based on an unfounded attack on the merits of the decision.

The claimant asserted that the secretary of state had granted permission for 230 dwellings on land close to the appeal site. He claimed that, in dismissing his own appeal, the inspector failed to understand the impact the larger scheme would have on the area's character and appearance and so had overestimated the likely additional harm from the eight houses. The decision was unsound because it gave inadequate reasons for distinguishing between the two sites, the claimant argued.

Mr Justice Hickinbottom concluded that the inspector had correctly identified the eight houses' impact on character and appearance and had given adequate reasons for distinguishing the two proposals. The inspector had exercised his planning judgement and it was inappropriate for the court to interfere, the judge held. No unlawfulness had occurred and all the grounds for challenge failed by a ‘significant margin’, he ruled.

Warner v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Ashfield District Council

Date: 27 November 2014; Ref: CO/3573/2014


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