Local Plan Judicial Review Challenges – Statement by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Julia Potts

Published Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Local Plan Judicial Review Challenges – Statement by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Julia Potts

"I am asking the Executive to agree £200k (£100k with a further £100k to be approved by Full Council) as we now have to defend our decision to adopt a sound Local Plan to protect our residents and our communities;

  • An excellent plan that protects Waverley from in appropriate ad hoc development
  • An excellent plan that has been approved by an independent inspector
  • An excellent plan that has been through three years of public consultation and scrutiny
  • A plan that is Government requirement.

"I am tired of this council and our residents being bullied, and having to defend the lawful, democratic decisions of this council in the High Court.

"In the last two years Waverley has had to face a number of very costly challenges on lawful decisions that have benefited the community. We have had to defend our decisions on:

  • Undershaw – which we won!  That is now an independent school for children with special needs – referred to by OFSTED “as a school that aims to ‘change lives for the better and strive to ensure that every child can realise their potential and make their unique contribution to society”.
  • Brightwells – which we won! A regeneration scheme that will bring homes, jobs and a new retail and leisure offer to a run down, under utilised area of Farnham.
  • The Farnham Neighbourhood Plan – which we won! A plan that was led by the community following years of hard work – was voted for by the community at a referendum.  Our decision to hold the referendum was challenged.  Our decision to adopt the plan was challenged. And the challenges failed.
  • Dunsfold – Eventually quashed by Secretary of State but after Waverley and the developer had to spend thousands of pounds defending the planning decision and being threatened with a JR; which was then withdrawn before it reached the courts.

"This administration is really proud of our new Local Plan. It has been found to be sound, we have adopted it and it has already fended off significant unwanted and inappropriate development in this borough. Just last week the Secretary of State published his long-awaited decisions on four key planning applications, backing Waverley's adopted Local Plan.  

"I am appalled that we have to spend money on legal expenses again, when we could be spending it on services - £200k at a time when as a council we face enormous financial challenges and are doing our utmost to deliver and protect key frontline services for our residents and many of our most vulnerable members of the community.

"The adopted Local Plan is Waverley’s lawfully adopted framework for development and planning decisions. The plan will continue to be our guide for all future development in the borough despite these challenges and will be our guide for the life of the plan – as I am confident that we will successfully defend the plan against all three challenges.

"This council will instruct the court that we will pursue full reimbursement of all legal costs we incur and will not accept anything less. These campaigning pressure groups must understand that this irresponsible abuse of public money will not be tolerated by Waverley Borough Council and its’ residents".

Notes to editors - examples of costs

  • 200k more than covers the grant the council gives to support the Hoppa service every year to provide essential transport to residents that need it.
  • 200k covers the annual grant the council provides to day-centres in the borough, that deliver essential services to older residents. 
  • 200k keeps our locality offices in Farnham and Haslemere open for two years, giving communities face to face access to council services. 
  • 200k is the equivalent to seven play area refurbishments or 20 council house refurbishments.

For further information contact:

Tel: 01483  523296

Web : www.waverley.gov.uk

Email: communications@waverley.gov.uk

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