Planning: Council May Face Costly Court Case.

“QC Geoffrey Stephenson has studied the application and the statement from John Hobson QC and has considered that your decision may be legally flawed.”

The statement by Planning Consultant, Cliff Burry, acting on behalf of his clients at Manor House Farm, Brentwood Road, Bulphan indicates that the controversial decision to reverse the granting of planning permission on green belt land may yet end up with a costly judicial review in the High Court.

To recap: Permission was granted on January 7th for extension work and loft conversions on the Bulphan property. QC John Hobson was brought in to advise the committee that the decision they made may be unlawful. The decision was reversed.

The committee discussed a number of things. The first was the “proportionality argument” whereby council have to decide whether the proposed extension is proportionate or otherwise to the original building. Opinions seemed to differ.

The other key point was made by Mr K Williams from Legal Services that all they had from Mr Burry’s QC was not a document on headed paper and signed at the bottom but a series of points in an e-mail.”

Cllr Gerard Rice said: “The council only has £2.5 million in reserve. We have to be careful not expose ourselves to a costly legal challenge as we did with Mr Holdings.”

The decision was made to defer the issue so that the applicants can formally submit the advice of the QC.

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