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Posted by JamesHill on 21st July 2017

Farnham Neighbourhood Plan Judicial Review Victory

The following is a press release from Waverley Borough Council.

A High Court judge has dismissed a judicial review application challenging Waverley Borough Council’s decision to approve the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan.

On Tuesday 18 July, the Judge, The Honourable Mrs Justice Lang handed down the judgment dismissing the legal challenge, brought by a consortium of developers, on all three grounds.

Councillor Julia Potts, Leader of the Council, said: “In May 2017 Waverley Borough Council held a referendum and asked the people of Farnham whether the plan should be adopted.  They voted yes.  We all recognise and understand the need for new homes.  Residents want to see appropriate development with supporting infrastructure, but in the places that are right for their community and Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans help to ensure appropriate development.

“This is a victory for the people of Farnham and its villages and for Farnham Town Council – this is their plan. Years of hard work have gone into getting the plan prepared and it has been robustly consulted on and reviewed by an independent inspector.
“I am both delighted and disappointed: Delighted that the judge has dismissed the developers’ claims and that the plan can now be adopted and used to help the council decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area. However, I’m disappointed that the developers’ decided that a legal challenge was an appropriate course of action.

"It is reassuring that the Judge has awarded costs; Waverley and Farnham Town Council have had to use a lot of resources and public money to defend a democratic decision in the High Court.

“I hope these developers will now try to engage constructively with us for the good of the borough and its residents.”     


Notes to editors:
·    The JR was brought by Bewley Homes, Wates Developments and Catesby Property Group.
·    The challenge was brought on three grounds:
1) The Examiner of the Plan reached an irrational conclusion that the Plan complied with the basic condition of being in conformity with the strategic policies of the Local Plan 2002
2) The Examiner failed to provide reasons to dismiss a detailed note by the consortium of developers which attacked the SPA avoidance strategy which was used to support the approach to SANG in the Plan;
3) The Examiner failed to have consideration or provided any reasons to dismiss representations made by Wates which made criticisms of a consultant’s report (“The Amec report”).
·         Waverley Borough Council are required by law to make the plan; the plan will be made by the Head of Planning under delegated powers and will be used as planning policy when determining planning applications in the neighbourhood area.
·    The Judge awarded Waverley Borough Council’s and Farnham Town Council’s costs in the case.

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