Mansfield Court of Appeal rules on 1,700 home judicial review

Ref. Savage, R (on the application of) v Mansfield District Council & Anor [2015] EWCA Civ 4

In this case, Mansfield District Council had granted permission on 17 April 2013 for a large mixed use development close to Harlow Wood stretching to 1,700 homes and covering over 169 hectares.

As third-party challenges are permissible under statutory judicial reviews, local resident Susan Savage was able to formally object to the development in the Court of Appeal, though only ‘on a point of law’. The claimant’s grounds of challenge, therefore, centred on alleged defects in the consultation process.

These grounds were:

  • The council failed to follow advice from Natural England indicating that they should carry out a “risk-based assessment” and by not doing so failed to comply with its legal duty;
  • One provision of a section 106 agreement was unlawful.
  • The council ought to have reconsidered the position between the date on which they resolved to grant planning permission and the date on which they actually granted it because there had been a material change of circumstances; and
  • The council’s officers misled the council’s planning committee about Natural England’s true position and their decision might have been influenced by this;

The Court of Appeal unanimously rejected the claim on all grounds. Full justification of this rejection is available here.

The Executive Mayor of Mansfield, Tony Egginton, said:

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome. This development and the much-needed high quality family homes and employment opportunities it will bring are vital for the regeneration and growth of the entire district. 

“It has been a long hard battle but the council has always maintained its position and robustly defended its original decision to grant outline planning permission. We are delighted that work is due to start in the coming months.”

The matter may not have been settled once and for all though, with Shlomo Dowen, from the Stop the Lindhurst Development campaign, telling the BBC:

“There is the potential for a Supreme Court challenge but that has not yet been decided, so there is uncertainty there.

“But absolutely the local residents’ campaign does not end here, no opinions have been changed by the ruling today.”

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SRJ                                                                                                                                           17.01.15

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