BOXFORD PARISH COUNCIL
SUCCESSFUL LEGAL CHALLENGE BY BOXFORD PARISH COUNCIL TO THE DECISION BY BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL TO GRANT PLANNING APPROVAL FOR 64 DWELLINGS ON LAND EAST OF SAND HILL, BOXFORD.
The planning permission formally issued by Babergh DC on 11 December 2020 has been quashed
by consent by the High Court following a successful legal challenge by Boxford Parish Council. This outcome means that the matter will now be returned to Babergh’s planning committee for redetermination, which is what the Parish Council asked for prior to seeking a judicial review of the decision.
Babergh District Council agreed that in granting planning permission they erred in failing to follow the resolution of their planning committee in June 2020 regarding the proposed community building. However, they make no admissions regarding the other substantial part of the Parish Council’s case in respect of the proposed highway ‘improvements’ in Ellis Street and their potential impact on the village. These remain ‘live’ issues.
The District Council has been ordered to pay £13,000 towards the Parish Council’s legal costs.
The Parish Council raised its concerns with the District Council over a period of months following the planning committee meeting on 17 June 2020, pointing out that the committee were
misdirected on a number of material matters and were led to believe by officers that
considerable community benefits were to follow a planning approval. This was never the case,
and consequently the section 106 agreement designed to secure such benefits did not match the
planning committee’s expectations. Babergh District Council now accepts that they acted
The Parish Council has received the formal order of the court, approved by Mrs Justice Beverley Lang on 26 March and quashing the permission, and will now hold Babergh District Council accountable for redetermining the whole matter, including all aspects of great concern, namely (i) that there are no tangible community benefits wished for by the village to justify approval, (ii) that the highway proposals cannot be safely delivered and (iii) that BDC’s own Joint Local Plan does not support the building of 64 houses on this site. Babergh’s own policy planning manager also supports rejection of the application, but his views were overridden by the planning committee last June.
In response to the outcome of the judicial review the chairman of the Parish Council, Julian Fincham-Jacques, said:
“Clearly, we are very pleased with the outcome, but Babergh must learn lessons from this. It should not be necessary to go to law at great expense over matters that the Council could and should have conceded when we first raised them. When this is returned to the planning committee, Babergh must understand that a community benefit can only justify the grant of permission inconsistent with policy if there is a genuine need. If not, it is simply a device to secure a planning permission contrary to policy. It is also a real concern that the highway proposals for Ellis Street, put forward to support the application, will only result in even greater conflict between vehicles and pedestrians. We must demand better from our local councils, or confidence in them will be rock bottom.”