• Judge grants leave for legal challenge over Longboat Cafe

    2nd March 2013 | News | Claire
  • East Devon District Council’s development management committee made the decision to allow the building to go ahead last summer, following several applications and a previous refusal.

    Campaigners quickly began the process of judicial review – the only way of challenging a planning approval, but last autumn had a setback when a judge ruled that their claim had been been too late. 

    East Devon District Council issued a press release claiming victory.

    Campaigner, David Daniel said:  “After a detailed examination the judge ruled that there was sufficient merit in a number of our claims to grant us permission for a full judicial review.

    “This reverses an earlier decision, based on a paper review, where EDDC had successfully argued that our claim had been lodged out of time (i.e. too late). We have always contended that there was no legal basis for such a claim. It was an argument that drew attention away from the claims we make of significant errors in process. Our contention has now been upheld. EDDC were represented at the hearing by Counsel.”

    That a group of individuals is prepared to hazard substantial sums, if costs are awarded against them, should be seen as a measure of the scale of the discontent felt at the way that EDDC push the boundaries of the planning process to force through decisions which to an onlooker seem to be predetermined by them. 

    “The DMC (Development Management Committee) is supposed to act, and to be seen to act, in a quasi judicial way when considering planning matters. There is no effective policing or scrutiny of this process. We are also concerned that this Natural World Heritage Site is not recognised by planners and has no effective protection. Objectors have no resort to appeal.” 

    “We are not opposed to development. However, the current development proposal is out of scale with its setting within the World Heritage Site and does not command local support.

    “There is now an opportunity for the applicant to work with the community to find a solution which is sympathetic to the history and natural beauty of this World Heritage Site. One that is viable, profitable and enhances both the local landscape character and quality of the public realm; and, most importantly, one which commands the local support without which local businesses cannot flourish.”

    Photograph: The Longboat house at Budleigh Salterton.