High Court backs developer in Stratford planning conditions row

A High Court judge has come down on the side of a developer in a row over alleged breaches of planning conditions during the construction of an 85-home scheme in Stratford-on-Avon.

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

Stratford-on-Avon District Council had taken Persimmon Homes to court over the way it is carrying out the development at 42 Avon Crescent, north of Milestone Road.

It claimed there had been breaches of planning controls and that there were safety issues in respect of the work and had asked Judge McKenna, at London’s High Court, to make an order forcing the developer to comply with the rules.

However, the judge yesterday ruled that the council’s application for injunctive relief was "disproportionate" and, in respect of one complaint, "oppressive".

Persimmon secured planning permission on appeal from a planning inspector after the council had rejected the application, against the recommendation of its own planning officers.

The judge said: "It is fair to record that the application for planning permission aroused strong local feeling and was met with strong local opposition which was championed by local councillors."

The council argued at a hearing in November that an injunction was now necessary due to what it claimed were Persimmon’s "flagrant and persistent breaches of planning control" and the underlying issue of safety on the site.

It sought an injunction demanding that Persimmon must avoid site deliveries between the hours of 8am-9am and 3pm-4pm, in order to comply with a traffic management plan.

However, the judge held that the rules relating to traffic management meant that deliveries were "to be discouraged," between those times, "not that they are in all circumstances prohibited".

He said that, on this construction, it could not sensibly be said that Persimmon had breached its obligations, and that to his mind the developer had "gone to great lengths" to ensure observation of this by sub-contractors.

As a result, he found that the grant of injunctive relief on this ground would be "simply not proportionate".

The council also sought an order requiring all deliveries to be "banked" – when a "banksman" stands behind a vehicle to guide during a reversing manoeuvre – but the judge found that its claim in this respect was "unsatisfactory" and "verging on the oppressive".

He also dismissed claims over landscaping and in respect of the "gate-person" used by Persimmon. He branded the latter as "without foundation" and said he found it "both disproportionate and oppressive".

Stratford on Avon District Council v Persimmon Homes Limited. Case Number: B90BM295

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