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Council to face five-figure sum after court case

Tens of thousands of pounds of costs will be sought from Pagham Parish Council after its failed court bid to stop new housing.

 

Arun District Council has confirmed it will be seeking the expenses it incurred in defending its outline planning permission for 400 homes south of Summer Lane.

 

It is expected the total cost of the whole proceedings, which ended in a day-long hearing on June 25 in the High Court, will be about £50,000.

 

“Arun District Council will now recover its costs associated with this action from Pagham Parish Council,” said an Arun spokesman. “The district council is naturally pleased that the judgement has upheld the decision that it made in November, 2018.

 

“The council had concerns about the grounds for the challenge that were brought and the judge has confirmed that the challenge was ‘fundamentally misconceived’ and comprised a ‘nit-picking scrutiny’ which was ‘utterly deprecated’. “The judge concluded there was no basis for challenging the planning officer’s report and the decision of the council.”

 

Within her judgement, Mrs Justice Andrews commented that the report by Arun’s planning officer to the councillors who approved the housing was sufficient.

 

It provided ‘a proper approach by law’ and was fair and accurate.

 

Pagham Parish Council’s barriser, Ashley Bowes, had claimed Arun’s planning officer had misunderstood the heritage evidence submitted in support of the application and equated a ‘less than substantial’ harmful impact with a less than substantial objection, said Mrs Justice Andrews

 

“Alternatively, if the planning officer had formed the view that there was no harm, and therefore the proposed development would preserve the setting of the church, he failed to explain to the committee that the applicant’s consultant on heritage matters took a different view and why he, the planning officer, did not accept that view.

 

“The primary argument is based on a premise that is factually incorrect and, for reasons which will become apparent, I regard the alternative argument as misconceived,” said Mrs Justice Andrews.

 

The day-long case in the High Court came down to one matter, Mrs Justice Andrews stated.

 

“The question for the court is whether the substance of the report has sufficiently drawn the committee’s attention to the proper approach required by the law and material considerations.”

 

Mr Bowes had claimed Arun’s planning officer had misunderstood the heritage evidence submitted in support of the application and equated a ‘less than substantial’ harmful impact with a less than substantial objection, said Mrs Justice Andrews

 

“Alternatively, if the planning officer had formed the view that there was no harm, and therefore the proposed development would preserve the setting of the church, he failed to explain to the committee that the applicant’s consultant on heritage matters took a different view and why he, the planning officer, did not accept that view.

 

“The primary argument is based on a premise that is factually incorrect and, for reasons which will become apparent, I regard the alternative argument as misconceived.”

 

The day-long case in the High Court came down to one matter, Mrs Justice Andrews stated.

 

“The question for the court is whether the substance of the report has sufficiently drawn the committee’s attention to the proper approach required by the law and material considerations.

 

“In this case, on a fair reading of the report, taken as a whole, that is precisely what the planning officer did,” the judge said.

 

The only harm would be minimal impact on the angle of the long-distance view of the church tower from the north-east. This was never going to be a serious obstacle, she added.

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