AN ATTEMPT to overturn the approval of hundreds of homes in Pagham failed to succeed.
The unprecedented move to take a second look at the outline planning approval granted by Arun District Council for the housing was ruled out by its senior officer.
Cllr Hugh Coster told councillors on Wednesday he believed the decision by the council’s development control committee last month was flawed.
The application by Hallam Land Management for 300 homes in Hook Lane was approved in spite of his protests at the time it failed to follow the council’s local plan land use blueprint.
He alleged it breached five of the local plan’s policies. This should lead it to being re-considered by the committee.
“I was looking at the local plan as a whole, highlighting all the ideas throughout the local plan, the areas we should be paying attention to, not just picking out the strategic allocations,” he said.
He claimed it was wrong for the council to only take those policies which it liked into account when it decided planning applications.
“This has to be entirely wrong and potentially unlawful,” he claimed.
“We are constantly reminded the local plan is a statutory document which we are bound by, which is why I say this council has behaving unlawfully by conveniently ignoring policies within it in order to try to ram through an application which requires much more consideration than it has received so far.”
He said he had arranged a meeting with the council’s planning barrister, Jeremy Cook, on October 15, to discuss the legality of the matter.
Before then, Cllr Coster said, he wanted the chairman of the development control committee, Cllr Jamie Bennett, and Arun’s chief executive, Nigel Lynn, to discuss the possibility of bringing back the application to the committee.
“This is a serious and sensitive issue and we owe it to the people of Pagham to deal with it in a wholly straightforward and popular manner,” he said. “I am asking for a way to be found to do it – a can do attitude and not a can’t do attitude.
But Mr Lynn said the council’s legal team had advised the decision had been made lawfully.
“The council can’t consider this today. The reason for this is that the council has delegated that authority to the development control committee and they determine the planning application with the exception of those delegated to the group head of planning,” he said.
A meeting between himself and Cllr Bennett would be pointless.
“We have no power whatsoever to change what has happened,” he said.
Cllr Ricky Bower (C, East Preston) said Cllr Coster’s suggestion was illegal because councillors did not have the right to interfere in the daily running of the council’s departments.