Wealden District Council

High Court vindication for planning committee decision

News : 22 February 2016

Wealden District Council has welcomed the High Court ruling which overturns a Planning Inspector’s decision

High Court Building

Wealden District Council has welcomed the High Court ruling which overturns a Planning Inspector’s decision to grant planning permission for 103 homes within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Beauty at Steel Cross, Crowborough.

“The Planning Inspector’s decision to allow a development at Steel Cross, outside of any designated development area within our local plan, rode roughshod over the measures we have been taking to protect the local habitat,” said Councillor Ann Newton, Cabinet member for Planning & Development.

The development had originally been refused by the Council’s Planning Committee North, but was then taken to appeal by the developer.

“The High Court decision is great news for Crowborough and the people of the District,” she added. “Their elected representatives will continue to guide development within the District through the accepted planning processes.

“The decision upholds the measures we have been taking to protect Ashdown Forest from the threat of increased traffic emissions and reinforces arguments that future housing should take place on the most appropriate sites, and not be subjected to a development land grab on a first come, first served basis.”

“It was always a risk going to the High Court to oppose a Planning Inspector’s decision, but it has given a clear message that the planning principles outlined in our Core Strategy and Local Plan proposals to protect the District’s outstanding environment should be upheld. We are now looking to recover the costs of having to take this matter to the High Court.”

The Council is waiting to find out if the Steel Cross planning application will be returned to the Planning Inspectorate for a new hearing or whether the decision of the High Court will be challenged by the Secretary of State or the applicant.