Mendip District Council has pledged to robustly contest a High Court challenge to the council’s recent decision to adopt the Local Plan.
Speculative developer Gladman Developments Ltd is challenging the decision because it does not believe that the amount of new housing to be provided in the district up until 2029 is sufficient.
In summary, the company is claiming that the independent Inspector who scrutinised the plan in 2014 should have concluded that the Local Plan had under-estimated the amount of new housing needed and should therefore plan for significantly more.
Mendip’s estimate of the number of houses required in the region was hotly contested at an Inspector-led public inquiry into plans to build in Nunney as well.
Barratt Homes’ application for outline planning permission to build up to 100 houses at Green Pits Lane in Nunney was rejected by Mendip District Council’s Planning Board last year.
Barratt Homes subsequently appealed against the rejection at ministerial level, which led to a four-day hearing in Shepton Mallet last week.
Councillor Harvey Siggs, Leader of the Council, said: “It is very surprising and disappointing to find out that a developer has waited until the 11th hour to challenge the housing requirements, even though they were confirmed by an independent Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State back in October and proposed for adoption back in November.
“Since our proposal to adopt the Local Plan there has been no contact from the developer to indicate that they had concerns which might lead to them making a challenge, which is the protocol in these matters. The council will be taking legal advice and will fiercely contest this challenge.”
No date has been set by the High Court to consider this application.
Until a judgement has been reached, the council will continue to decide planning applications based on the recently adopted Local Plan.
The council will also consider whether it needs to revise its programme for drawing up the second part of the Local Plan Part II, which is currently getting under way. This document will earmark the specific sites needed to meet development needs in the future.
When asked by Visit Nunney if the High Court challenge could delay a decision on new housing in Nunney, a spokesperson for Mendip told us, “As far as we’re concerned, our Local Plan stands but we will be taking further legal advice.”