High Court challenge to housing appeal decision

Plans for 34 Southbourne homes east of Breach Avenue
Plans for 34 Southbourne homes east of Breach Avenue

A High Court challenge to a decision to allow homes in Southbourne by a planning inspector is set to be launched by the council.

Chichester District Council refused planning permission for 34 homes east of Breach Avenue earlier this year.

However, a Government-appointed planning inspector overturned that decision earlier this month at appeal, as he ruled the council cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing land.

This follows another appeal decision which went against the council in August for 100 homes at the corner of Oving Road with the A27.

A spokesman for the council confirmed it would be proceeding to lodge a claim in the High Court regarding the Southbourne appeal decision.

The issue was discussed by councillors at a meeting last Wednesday (November 21), when Penny Plant (Con, Bosham) suggested the two appeal decisions would have ‘far reaching implications for the whole district’. She asked what positive action was being taken by the council to ‘step up’ the five-year land supply.

Susan Taylor (Con, East Wittering), cabinet member for planning services, said that some allocated sites ‘are taking longer than expected to come forward’.

This was due to land ownership issues or complex infrastructure requirements.

However she described how they were working with partners on the land west of Chichester and options for a Compulsory Purchase Order at the Tangmere strategic site.

She said they were ‘disappointed’ by the inspector’s conclusions on the Southbourne appeal but hoped to ‘quash’ the decision: “We can’t stop developers challenging the local plan and neighbourhood plans but when they do we will robustly defend them.”

Simon Oakley (Con, Tangmere) said they had to make it clear to central Government that local authorities have ‘limited powers’ to deliver housing.

Cllr Taylor said they had made these points in response to a Government consultation.