Developer seeks judicial review of Sussex council's decision to hold neighbourhood plan referendum

Out-Law News | 29 Jul 2014 | 5:29 pm | 1 min. read

Developer Crown Hall Estates has applied for a judicial review of Chichester District Council's decision to hold a referendum on the proposed adoption of the Loxwood neighbourhood plan.

The neighbourhood plan (41-page / 4.1 MB PDF), drawn up by a steering group of Loxwood Parish Council members and local residents, sets out policies for the growth of the west Sussex parish up to 2029 and is intended to form part of the Chichester District development plan. The plan defines a settlement boundary for the parish, outside which development is subject to restrictions, and allocates two sites within the settlement boundary for the development of at least 60 homes in the plan period.

Independent planning inspector Janet Cheesley examined the plan in April and recommended in her report (26-page / 319 KB PDF) that it should proceed to referendum following several minor amendments. The referendum took place on 24 July, with 500 votes in favour of the District Council using the plan to guide planning decisions in the area and 12 votes against.

Following the referendum, the District Council issued a statement confirming that Crown Hall Estates was seeking a judicial review to challenge its decision to hold the referendum.

"We are incredibly disappointed with this action because we know how hard Loxwood has worked on the plan," said councillor Carol Purnell in a statement. "We are taking legal advice on the grounds of this challenge and we will then decide on the appropriate action to take. We are unsure what impact this may have at the moment."