East Anglian Daily Times - 15 November 2015
A scheme for a large residential development at St Osyth’s historic Priory is set to go back in front of a planning inspector.
The move comes after the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government conceded its original decision to reject an appeal against Tendering District Council’s (TDC) refusal of the planning application is unlawful.
TDC refused planning permission for 142 new homes, a visitor centre and function room, and the Sargeant family, who own the 11th Century priory, went to appeal.
They lost, but in July the council was informed the family had started High Court proceedings to challenge the validity of the inspector’s decision issued in May.
The proceedings were taken out against the Secretary of State, as the responsible Government department for the Planning Inspectorate.
The council has now been told the Secretary of State has conceded there are weaknesses with the decision.
This was on the basis that the inspector failed to give adequate consideration to, or alternatively provide adequate reasons relating to the impact upon the heritage assets if planning permission was refused.
Therefore, the decision is unlawful and the Secretary of State no longer wishes to defend the High Court appeal and consented to a Court Order quashing the inspector’s decision.
Neil Stock, TDC leader and cabinet member for planning, said that the council had no other choice but to pull out also.
“This situation leaves us with no justifiable grounds on which to remain part of the court proceedings to defend the Planning Inspector’s decision,” he said.
“We have therefore reluctantly agreed the terms of the court order.”
This will mean that the appeal will be returned to the Planning Inspectorate for re-determination and, as the appeal was originally dealt with by an inquiry, the inquiry will probably be reopened.
It is usual for a different inspector to deal with any re-determination and it is expected the Sargeant family will agree to narrow the issues to be put in front of the inspector to reduce the overall inquiry time and use of public resources.
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