A legal challenge to Wealden District Council’s Core Strategy Local Plan has been dismissed on “all grounds” in the High Court in London.
The Judicial Review was brought on behalf of a number of major landowners in the area – the Ashdown Forest Economic Development group – who wanted greater opportunities to develop their land than allowed by the plan.
The limit on development placed within a 7km zone of the Ashdown Forest was a particular bone of contention.
The hearing took place at the beginning of the month and it was expected it would be many weeks before a judgement was handed down. See here
However, judgement was delivered this morning (February 21) by the Hon Justice Mr Sales. He ordered that the Ashdown Economic Development Group pay the costs of the district council and the co-defendants – South Downs National Park Authority and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Cllr Ann Newton, Wealden cabinet member for planning and development, said: “This judgement confirms how open, transparent, and logical the Council has been in developing and adopting its Core Strategy.
“The findings of the Judge have supported this in every way.
“They are testament to the dedication and professionalism of our officers and members in striving to find an appropriate balance between supporting housing and economic growth whilst also protecting Wealden’s high quality environment which our residents value so much.
“We will continue to support growth that is in compliance with our Local Plan and which meets our duties under the Habitats Regulations.”
Help for busineses
She said the council would still continue to offer help and advice to help local businesses grow.
Council Leader, Bob Standley, said: “I am delighted that the court has found in the council’s favour. We will continue to work with business to promote growth whilst ensuring that our natural landscape is protected for current and future residents of Wealden.”