A developer has been granted planning permission for holiday lodges in a country park despite legal action by local objectors.
The case involved a development site that was part of a woodland country park and adjacent to a Grade II listed church. The country park had operated as a visitor attraction for many years, and planning permission had previously been granted for part of it to be used for holiday caravans.
The developer’s application concerned that caravan site and a larger area beside it. The local authority’s planning committee granted planning permission after considering a planning officer’s report, which stated that the proposal would not give rise to substantial harm to a heritage asset or its setting.
A local residents’ group opposed the development and claimed the officer’s report had misled the committee by wrongly treating the proposal simply as one for an extension of existing tourist facilities. The committee had consequently misapplied local planning policy on tourist development.
The High Court ruled in favour of the developer and the local authority. It held that the planning committee’s members had attended a site visit and were familiar with the setting. The planning officer’s presentation had included slides of the existing and proposed layouts which identified areas for development that were clearly outside the current caravan park. The committee was therefore entirely clear about the current and proposed layouts.
It could not have been in any sensible doubt as to the extent of the proposed development compared with the extent of the current development, and it was not arguable that it had been misled.
It was also the case that the proposed development was an extension of existing facilities.
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Developer allowed to build in country park despite opposition EWHC 38 (Admin)
R (on the application of ROGER AUSTIN) (Claimant) v WILTSHIRE COUNCIL (Defendant) & (1) HAULFRYN GROUP LTD (2) TREGURA LTD (Interested Parties) (2017)
QBD (Hickinbottom J) 20/01/2017