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Homes fight decision wait

A high court judge is deciding whether to allow Pagham councillors to succeed in their bid to stop plans for hundreds of homes.


Mrs Justice Andrews decided to reserve her judgement in the case for a judicial review of the decision to allow the 400 dwellings south of Summer Lane.


The case has been brought by Pagham Parish Council against Arun District Council in relation to how it granted planning permission for the homes.


Nicola Jones, the parish council’s clerk, said: “It is a case of sitting and waiting.


“It is frustrating that the judgement was reserved but the hearing did not finish until 3.45pm and the judge was not prepared to make a judgement at that point.


“It is likely to take a couple of weeks before we receive her judgement.


“It was a fascinating day in court and our legal team certainly pressed our case in front of the judge and asked lots of questions.”


The parish council’s barrister is Ashley Rowe, who recently represented Aldingbourne Parish Council in a judicial review, and its planning consultant is Paul Collins. As well as Mrs Jones, planning committee chairman, Cllr Dawn Hall, and Cllr Caroline Spencer, a member of the committee, were in court for the hearing.


The day of legal arguments took place in court three of the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday.


The parish council alleges the advice about the impact of the housing on the area’s historic buildings, such as St Thomas a’Becket Church, given to members of Arun’s development control committee when they approved the proposals last November by their planning officers, failed to reflect the comments by Historic England.


Arun is adamant the advice was correct.


“The community is behind us on this matter,” said Mrs Jones. “We would not have taken the matter this far if that was not the case.


“Most people who attempt a judicial review don’t get to the stage we have got. It’s a very low success rate so to get to a hearing proves the judges so far have been convinced that we have a case.”


If Mrs Justice Andrews backs the parish council, it means the housing application by Hanbury (PM) Ltd has to go back to Arun’s committee to make a new decision based on fresh advice from its officers. It will not mean the housing plan has to be scrapped.


An Arun spokeswoman said it would not making a formal response about the hearing until it received the verdict from Mrs Justice Andrews.


A judicial review is a challenge to a way in which a decision has been made rather than the rights and wrongs of the decision.

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