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LEGAL CHALLENGE MOUNTED TO COUNCIL'S LOCAL PLAN

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A row over West Berkshire Council's refusal to allow housing development at...
A row over West Berkshire Council's refusal to allow housing development at

Thatcham, Berkshire after a planning inspector gave the go-ahead, has gone

to the high court in London.

Developer, Bellway Homes Limited, has mounted a legal challenge to the

council's decision last June to adopt the West Berkshire Local Plan and to

refuse Bellway's application for planning permission for the construction of 550 dwellings with garages, parking, access roads, community facilities and landscaping at Siege Cross Farm, Thatcham.

The court was told that planning permission had been refused by the council

on the basis that it expected a site at Thatcham MoD Depot would become

available to provide a similar number of dwellings within the Plan period

and that in the circumstances there was a reduction in the need to allocate

other land.

The council's decision reversed an earlier recommendation by a planning

inspector to allow the development. The inspector had rejected claims by

Thatcham Town Council that further large scale development would have an

unacceptable impact on local services.

In the high court Reuben Taylor, counsel for Bellway argued that in

deciding not to accept the recommendation of the inspector the council acted perversely and exceeded the powers conferred on it by Part II of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

He said the council had based its estimate of housing demand on figures

derived from Regional Guidance produced by the government in 1994 and had

not taken into account the additional demand for housing that had arisen in

the area as a result of the grant of planning permission for a number of

commercial developments in the area, particularly the Vodafone Headquarters.

The hearing continues.

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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