EFFORTS to overturn councillors’ decision to refuse six new Malvern homes has been quashed by the High Court.
The proposals for the land at Malvern Caravans, between Malvern and Powick, were first refused in July 2014 on the grounds of it being an ‘unsustainable development’ and not in keeping with the local and national planning rules.
But, this decision was reversed after planning inspector Joanne Jones won an appeal in February 2015. She argued it would make a modest contribution to the shortage of housing in the district and was not contrary to those rules.
However, on June 29, the Secretary of State admitted the inspector had made an error in law when she said the development was in line with local planning policy. It also ruled she had not given adequate reasons for allowing the appeal.
The decision was then ordered to be quashed without a formal hearing.
The applicants then decided to challenge it themselves on July 8. It went before the High Court in Birmingham on July 23 to be considered but after a two hour hearing the Honourable Justice Hickinbottom agreed the original decision was right.
He also ordered the Secretary of State and the landowner to pay the council’s costs £6,498 within 21 days.
The council’s original decision to refuse the application will now be reconsidered by the planning inspectorate.
Duncan Rudge, Malvern Hills District Council’s development control manager, said: “We knew the planning inspector had made a mistake and we’re delighted this has now been confirmed by the High Court.
“We had to act fast as if the inspector’s decision had been left unchallenged it could have affected our ability to resist similar inappropriate housing proposals in the countryside in the future.”
Gary Williams, head of planning and housing at the council, added planning inspectors should understand and correctly apply relevant planning policies when considering appeals.