The Supreme Court has today (Wednesday, 10 May 2017) handed down its judgement on the long-running legal battle over a proposed housing development on the outskirts of Yoxford.
The Supreme Court Justices dismissed the case, but have provided important clarification on planning issues of national importance.
Speaking after the judgement, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Head of Planning, Philip Ridley, said:
"This appeal has been dismissed but the Supreme Court Justices have fully endorsed the key substantive points we were seeking to raise.
"Although it is disappointing to see the appeal dismissed, the judgement makes it clear that we were right to take the unusual step of taking this matter to the Supreme Court. The judgement has provided clarification on important issues of planning law and policy relevant not only to Suffolk Coastal but also to many councils which, like us, are seeking to ensure that much-needed housing is provided in the right locations.
"Importantly, the Supreme Court Justices agreed with us that the Local Plan is a prime factor to be taken into account when making planning decisions.
"This is a victory for those of us wanting to follow a proper planning process and communities across east Suffolk will be greatly relieved, as it shows us the strength of the Local Plans and gives us a defence against inappropriate development in the future.
"Suffolk Coastal remains committed to welcoming sympathetic development in the proper locations. We do not want development at any cost. We need the right type of development, which supports and complements our unique environment and helps build strong local communities.
"The next step is that there will be another planning inquiry into the original decision by the Development Management Committee (now Planning Committee) to reject this application.
"Suffolk Coastal will continue to robustly defend this decision, as we believe this development is outside the village boundary, is out of character with local housing and would adversely impact on unspoilt local historic parkland, which is contrary to Suffolk Coastal's Local Plan.
"Our Local Plan demonstrates that Suffolk Coastal District Council is fully committed to supporting the development of new homes and new jobs but also specifically safeguards our unique local environment.
"A balance has to be found between these often competing forces and, in this case, it was felt that this development did not achieve that balance.”
The legal proceeding follow Suffolk Coastal’s decision in 2013 to reject the planning application for 26 houses on the outskirts of Yoxford on the grounds it is outside the village boundary, is out of character with local housing and would adversely impact on unspoilt local historic parkland.
A Planning Inspector upheld our refusal of planning permission, after a Planning Inquiry, in June 2014. However, the High Court quashed the Inspector’s decision in January 2015.
That decision was then upheld by the Court of Appeal on Thursday, 17 March, 2016, which dismissed Suffolk Coastal District Council’s appeal against the High Court decision.
The matter was then taken to the Supreme Court jointly by Suffolk Coastal District Council and Cheshire East Council (where there is a similar issue), which handed down its judgement on Wednesday, 10 May, 2017.
See the release from the Barristers representing the two councils.