Further details on Ashford Borough Council’s legal challenge

Published: 23/05/2022
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Ashford Borough Council has provided more details of its legal challenge following the Planning Inspectorate’s ruling at a recent appeal to allow development of land between Woodchurch Road and Appledore Road, Tenterden.

The Council has brought the s.288 legal challenge on the pivotal issue regarding housing land supply.

The Council notes that the Inspector, whilst deciding to grant the appeal at the Planning Inquiry, has misdirected himself on the law as to the legal approach in three particular regards:

  1. Wrongly omitting all contributions to the Council’s five year housing land supply from sites affected by Stodmarsh, despite the Council presenting the Inspector with evidence on progress made towards a mitigation strategy;
  2. Wrongly omitting from the Council’s five year housing land supply 150 houses on a Tenterden site, despite evidence being presented to the Inspector which confirmed that there was no legal impediment to the site progressing; and
  3. Wrongly assessing the contribution the appeal site could/would make to the five year housing land supply, despite evidence being presented to the Inspector which detailed delays to implementation of the site; such as the sale of the school land and mechanisms in the legal agreement between the Council and the developer for the appeal site, which delays housing being built on the site for several years.

Cllr Neil Bell, Portfolio Holder for Planning stated: “We feel strongly that these matters have not been properly addressed by the Inspector and therefore we felt obliged to go to the High Court in order to quash the decision so the right approach can be adopted, and the decision can be made again.”

More information: Ashford Borough Council launches legal challenge.