• Judge rules that council ‘misdirected itself’ over AONB

    23rd August 2012 | News | Claire
  • Judge Mrs Justice Lang agreed with the Save Woolley Valley Action Group (SWVAG) that Bath & North East Somerset Council had made an unlawful decision in respect of Dimbleby’s former land at Woolley Lane, Charlcombe, Bath.

    She said that the council had “misdirected itself in law” when it decided that 10 3.5 metre-high poultry sheds planned for the site were not “development” subject to planning control and so did not require an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

    She also found that the council had acted unlawfully by granting planning permission for a stock pond without having carried out a lawful screening opinion whether an EIA was required.

    The judge quashed the decisions and ordered the council to rethink. The 20.5 hectares of land was sold to Golden Valley Paddocks by Dimbleby in 2005.

    SWVAG challenged the Council’s decisions to allow Golden Valley Paddocks to keep the poultry sheds, originally intended to house 10,000 chickens, but so far eight of which have been used to house 4,000 ducks, as well as a stock pond on the site.

    In a statement the planning authority said: “The council notes that the court did not agree with its interpretation of planning law in this case. The case raised complex issues of English and European law.

    “The council was required to strike the correct balance on these issues and sought legal advice at each stage of the process. The council has a responsibility to operate within the planning framework, considering the interests of the farmers as well as those of local residents.

    “The council takes the protection of the countryside very seriously. The council will now need to consider its position in light of the court’s judgement.”