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LOCAL PLAN GUIDANCE VERSUS COUNTY'S STRUCTURE PLAN

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A company has won a high court challenge to a government decision refusing it permission to build an extra 26 homes...
A company has won a high court challenge to a government decision refusing it permission to build an extra 26 homes on a housing development on the site of a former poultry packing centre in Somerset.

Goldfinch Ltd, which had already won outline permission for 41 houses on the site, had applied to develop a further 26 houses, but this was not decided in time by the local council and then the secretary of state for transport, local government and the regions refused it on appeal.

The secretary of state's planning inspector considered that, while the proposed development did not conflict with the county's structure plan, it went against policies contained in the area's local plan. He gave the local plan more weight, because he considered that it went further to implement national planning policy.

Challenging that decision in the high court, Goldfinch argued that the inspector had misconstrued the local plan guidance and that it simply implemented the same policies contained in the structure plan.

Now Mr justice Richards has found in favour of Goldfinch and quashed the decision, meaning that the matter will now be returned to the secretary of state for reconsideration.

The judge said that, on the facts, the local plan had not sought to indicate development limits and boundaries, but had simply implemented the policies contained in the structure plan.

The inspector, he said, had wrongly applied an explanatory text from a different policy within the plan that had no relevance as part of the reasoning in his decision.

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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