One Source Aug 20 Composite 600 final

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District council wins legal battle after planning inspector miscalculated its housing land supply

East Cambridgeshire District Council earlier this month won a legal challenge against the Planning Inspectorate, who conceded that a planning inspector had miscalculated the authority's housing land supply.

The local authority, which was awarded all costs relating to the case, said its success in overturning the inspector's decision “demonstrates its backing for Neighbourhood Plans and support of its communities across the district”. 

The application, which was for outline planning permission for nine dwellings on Station Road in Fordham, had been refused by the district council due to its location outside the development envelope. Fordham has a neighbourhood plan in place. 

The applicant appealed against the refusal to the Planning Inspectorate, which allowed the appeal, thereby granting permission for the scheme.

The council said that this decision, if left unchallenged, would have seriously undermined the Fordham Neighbourhood Plan and all neighbourhood plans in the district

The authority claimed that its successful legal challenge confirmed the council's position in relation to its housing land supply.

Cllr Anna Bailey, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “I am delighted that the council has been shown to be correct in this case. The decision made by the Planning Inspectorate seriously undermined the hard work of local people in Fordham to develop their Neighbourhood Plan which they undertook in order to control how and where development takes place.

“Speaking to the Local Member, Cllr Julia Huffer, I know that for Fordham, it was devastating to have their neighbourhood plan effectively rendered useless by the decision of the Inspector so soon after it was adopted.”

Cllr Bailey added: “Left unchallenged, it would also have had the knock-on effect of undermining all neighbourhood plans in the district, rendering them ineffective at controlling where development takes place. We knew the Inspectorate had got it wrong and we needed to make a stand. We will continue to support all communities across our district that wish to develop their own neighbourhood plan.”

Following the quashed decision, the Planning Inspectorate will reconsider the appeal with a new planning inspector.