Developer fails in High Court attempt to halt neighbourhood plan

A developer's attempt to quash a neighbourhood plan in order to revive its plans to build on a site at a village in East Sussex has been rejected by a High Court judge.

London's Royal Courts of Justice
London's Royal Courts of Justice

A local referendum on the neighbourhood plan for the Newick area, which did not include the land in question for development, resulted in resounding backing by local residents.

However, developer DLA Delivery Ltd took the case to court seeking a ruling quashing the neighbourhood plan.

If the firm had succeeded the decision would have effectively revived its hopes of having the site included in the future housing plans for the village.

But on Friday Mr Justice Foskett, dismissed the developer's challenge to the plan and ruled that it should stand as it is.

He said that the new concept of the "Neighbourhood Development Plan ('NDP')" was introduced in 2011 and was "plainly designed to enable local communities to have a greater say in the planning process that affects them".

The plan was promoted by Newick Parish Council and provides for the building of about 100 houses in Newick between now and 2030. However, land at Mitchelswood Farm which is owned by DLA Delivery was not included as one of the development areas.

The neighbourhood plan was put to a referendum in February, with 846 voting in favour and only 102 against.

DLA Delivery attacked the plan on a number of complex grounds, arguing that there had been a failure to observe European Habitats Regulations and a failure to have regard to national planning policy, resulting in an allocation of housing land under the plan that is "undeliverable".

But the judge rejected all of its claims, ruling that he was "unable to see any flaw in the process by which the NDP was formulated".

He said that it had been concluded that the housing allocations in the neighbourhood plan would not have a significant effect on Ashdown Forest.

R on the Application of DLA Delivery Limited v Lewes District Council. Case Number: CO/818/2015

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