Crossings Road High Court bid is ruled out

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HIGH Peak Borough Council have decided against taking High Court action to challenge a decision made by a planning inspector.

Permission was granted on appeal for a controversial development on land between Manchester Road and Crossings Road in Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Borough council solicitor Nicola De Bruin, told a meeting of the council’s Development Control Committee on Monday that although officers and counsel agreed that the inspector had been wrong on two points in law, the judgement had been framed in such a way that a High Court action would fail.

The inspector had said there was not a sufficient supply of building land available as the council should not count sites without planning permission, and that the council was in a state of constant under-supply.

However, legal advice clearly stated that sites without permission could be included.

Ms De Bruin said: “Having said that, we can’t say to somebody that planning consent is going to come forward without doing the homework and I think there is a recognition from officers that we need to talk to developers to come forward with more details on that before we show that we have got more housing to count towards our housing supply figures.”

She said the council had a good record in housing supply to the extent that a moratorium had been needed across two thirds of the borough and the recent shortfall was down to the recession.

“What has come out of the decision is that more work needs to done in terms of showing which sites are deliverable,” she said.

“Until that time we have to accept we are in a position of under supply in housing terms which means a presumption in favour of development of housing sites unless we can show cogent and compelling reasons why an application should be refused.”

Cllr Stewart Young said he was upset how the report did not take into account the views of Chapel Vision and the amount of money the group had been given by the government to create a plan for the town.

Ms De Bruin said: “We tried to show that if the site were to be developed, obviously it would take quite a bit of choice away from the residents, especially after all the work that has gone in to Chapel Vision.”

She said that as soon as the inspector determined an under-supply the arguments over prematurity, the effect on the landscape and sites being greenfield counted for nothing.