A High Court judge yesterday turned down an attempt by Pagham councillors to quash planning approval for hundreds of homes.
Mrs Justice Andrews ruled Pagham Parish Council’s judicial review was unjustified. She said Arun District Council was correct in granting outline planning permission for 400 homes on land south of Summer Lane.
She handed down her judgment yesterday morning after a hearing on June 25 in which both sides put their cases.
She said the parish council, which was represented by Ashley Rowe QC, had failed to prove its case that members of Arun’s development control committee were misdirected about the impact of the housing on heritage assets in the area.
Cllr David Huntley, a member of Pagham and Arun councils, said: “I am very disappointed with this decision.
“The parish council will continue to pursue at Pagham and district level how to get these strategic sites allocations of housing, like Summer Lane, reversed.
“In particular, we are fighting the plans for Hook Lane, Summer Lane, Sefter Road and Church Barton Farm.
“We don’t want any of these houses to be built, really. They will mean an increase in housing beyond what we wanted in our neighbourhood plan. We have 190 homes being built already.
“But it was worthwhile going to the High Court because our residents would expect us to fight this matter as far as we can. The judgment could have gone the other way.”
Mr Rowe had told the High Court hearing members of the development control committee at their meeting last November 2018 had been given only a partial quotation of Historic England’s advice about how the homes’ presence would affect the appearance of the Grade I-listed St Thomas a’Becket Church when they approved the outline plans for development.
He alleged the importance of the open farmland to the significance of the church tower was omitted from the report to the committee. But Mrs Justice Andrews, who had reserved her judgment at the hearing, said this was not the case.
Cllr Huntley said a host of reasons, as well as the heritage aspect, existed why the housing near Summer Lane should not go ahead, said Cllr Huntley.
“I have a particular problem with this scheme because it is right next to Pagham Harbour local nature reserve. The pets from the people who live in those houses will cause problems there.
“It will also involve the loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land. The sewage system will not be able to cope, either,” he added.
The developer of the housing, Hanbury (PM) Ltd, has to compile detailed plans for the housing, and receive approval for them, before it can begin work on the homes.
Arun has been contacted for a response to the decision by Mrs Justice Andrews.