It is possible for the plan to be challenged under s.113 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. Any challenge has to be made within six weeks of the plan being adopted.
We has now been served with notice of two applications to legally challenge the local plan, which could lead to a Judicial Review of our decision to adopt the plan.
The applications have been made in relation to RUR7 Land off Clappins Lane, Naphill and BE2 Hollands Farm, Bourne End and Wooburn.
There are two stages to the process:
- The court has to first give permission for a challenge to be heard. This is based on an initial assessment of the claims made by the applicants and the Council’s response to those claims.
- If permission is given then claims will be heard in the High Court and a judgement will be made whether the contested parts of the plan are quashed and if the remainder of the plan should remain in force or not.
In the meantime, this does not change the status of the plan. It is still adopted and decisions on planning applications will be made in accordance with policies in the plan.
Update 16 January 2020
Just before Christmas the Council received the news that the challenge by Keep Bourne End Green in relation to the allocation of Hollands Farm (BE2) in the Local Plan had been unsuccessful. Judge Waksman considering the case reasoned that the issues raised in the challenge were those of planning judgement rather than legal issues.
Part of the process allows the challenging body to request that the request for a judicial review be heard at an oral hearing if permission has been refused. Keep Bourne End Green have made this request. We are waiting to hear when this hearing will take place.
You can read the full decision below.
Note: The decision document is a scanned document and is not accessible. If you require the document as an accessible format please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update 11 December 2019
We have successfully defended the inclusion of the Clappins Lane site in the adopted local plan. On 29 November Judge J Lieven agreed that there were no legal grounds to challenge our decision to adopt of the local plan. The judge confirmed that the challenge was to the merits of the decision and that there was no “arguable error of law”.
RUR7 is a greenfield site that is allocated for approximately 64 dwellings. We were challenged over whether the allocation and the subsequent development of the site would be "major development" in the Chilterns AONB, whether there was justification or “exceptional circumstances” to remove the site from the greenbelt, and whether we had considered reasonable alternatives to this site.
You can read the full decision below:
We are still awaiting to hear if the second legal challenge will be successful in getting to the High Court.