A HIGH COURT judge has agreed that a fight against new homes in Pagham should continue.
Mrs Justice Lang ruled at an oral hearing on Tuesday that Pagham Parish Council was justified in seeking to challenge the granting of planning permission for the housing.
She allowed parish councillors to proceed to a judicial review on two of the grounds on which they said Arun District Council had erred in approving the development of up to 400 homes.
Parish council clerk Nicola Swann said: “The case will require two days of court time. We are now waiting for a date to be decided.
“We are also waiting for written confirmation of the judgement, which we will be reading carefully.”
The grounds on which Mrs Justice Lang said the judicial review should proceed were related to heritage matters. They concern the potential impact of the houses on land south of Summer Lane on the Grade-I listed St Thomas a’Becket Church to the south and the advice councillors were given by their planning officers about that effect when they granted planning permission last October.
But Mrs Justice Lang rejected the parish council’s attempt to have the permission overturned by saying it failed to take into account Arun’s masterplan for future large-scale housing schemes in the area which was intended to ensure a cohesive approach to all the sites.
An Arun spokeswoman said it was considering how to proceed in the light of Mrs Justice Lang’s ruling.
“Essentially, this means that the judge feels that hearing evidence from all parties on this matter would be worthwhile and that Pagham Parish Council has been able to demonstrate that there is sufficient (reason) to justify a formal hearing where this evidence will be heard,” she said.
“Arun District Council is in the process of deciding its next steps.”
As reported, the oral hearing was held after an initial hearing at the High Court last month rejected the parish council’s arguments.
Arun has set aside £105,000 to pay for its legal costs in defending its decision.
The cabinet members of Arun were told when they agreed to the funding: “The council will be required to be legally represented by counsel.
“Based on previous judicial reviews, this is likely to be approximately £70,000 for representation and for the work involved in the preparation and attendance at judicial review hearings.
“However, the final costs will be based on a number of factors which are unknown at present.”
Alan Pivett, chairman of the Pagam campaign group, said: “That is a lot of money to be putting to one side to fight a little parish council and the community of Pagham. The parish council represents the residents of Pagham and we support its efforts.”