• Council lodges legal housing challenge against Pickles

    3rd April 2013 | News | Claire
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    A council has launched a legal challenge against communities secretary Eric Pickles’ decision to approve almost 300 homes on two greenfield sites near Tetbury, Gloucestershire.

    Cotswold District Council said it will seek a judicial review of Pickles’ decision to give the go-ahead to two schemes, despite their impact on the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

    In February, Pickles granted consent on appeal for up to 250 homes on land at Highfield Farm on the northern edge of the town and another scheme for 39 homes to the south of the town.

    But the council said that following a detailed assessment of the Planning Inspectorate’s (PINS) findings and legal advice it believes that that there are reasonable grounds for a judicial review.

    The council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for forward planning Nick Parsons said: “We think we have a valid case both in terms of the approach the Planning Inspectorate has taken towards the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in relation to major housing development, and also its consideration of the overall number of houses required”. 

    He said the council was particularly concerned that PINS had judged it to be a ‘persistent under deliverer of housing’ under the National Planning Policy Framework, claiming that this view is “completely at odds with the evidence”.

    The council said that, together with local MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, it is seeking an urgent meeting with planning minister Nick Boles to discuss the cases.