Villager loses bid to stop Waterstock homes plan

Herald Series: . .

A VILLAGER has lost a bid to have a new national court make a final decision on two planned homes in the county’s Green Belt.

Jane Harper wanted the new Planning Court to challenge South Oxfordshire District Council’s permission for the Waterstock homes.

In August last year, the council’s planning committee approved two four-bedroom homes at Park Farm in the village, east of the M40 Junction 8A.

It would involve demolition of some agricultural buildings, new stables and retention of more traditional buildings as outbuildings.

She hoped ultimately to win an order quashing the planning permission, but Judge Rhodri Price Lewis ruled there would be no full hearing.

Ms Harper, who is close to retirement and funded the challenge with her savings, said the homes would obstruct a footpath.

She also argued that the council had misunderstood Green Belt policy and that “very special circumstances” had to be shown to justify development in the village, which is on the River Thame.

But the judge found the council was right to argue the design of the homes was not different enough from others in the area for it to be refused.

He said of the council: “That was a planning judgment for them, with which the court will not interfere unless it was unreasonable.

“It is not, was not and this ground is not reasonably arguable."

He added: “The effect of the development on the right of way was adequately considered. Therefore there is no force in this ground.”

He said very special circumstances were not required as the land was no longer used for agriculture.

The court – part of the High Court – was set up by the Government in February to “tackle costly and unnecessary legal delays”.

Comments (2)

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12:51pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Chris Henderson says...

The Judge seems to have an odd understanding of the law. Very special circumstances are always required to justify building on the green belt and whether or not it is being used for agriculture is of no relevance.
There is a long history of speculative developers buying up chunks of green belt, neglecting them, and then arguing that they are of no value to the countryside due to that neglect. The area south of Grenoble Rd comes to mind.
Unfortunately as this was a case brought by a private individual with her life savings it is unlikely that she will be able to afford an appeal which should stand a good chance of success.
The Judge seems to have an odd understanding of the law. Very special circumstances are always required to justify building on the green belt and whether or not it is being used for agriculture is of no relevance. There is a long history of speculative developers buying up chunks of green belt, neglecting them, and then arguing that they are of no value to the countryside due to that neglect. The area south of Grenoble Rd comes to mind. Unfortunately as this was a case brought by a private individual with her life savings it is unlikely that she will be able to afford an appeal which should stand a good chance of success. Chris Henderson
  • Score: 2

10:07pm Sun 13 Apr 14

oxchris says...

Quite right. People living in villages can't expect special protection from the need to house people. It's selfish to expect people to be forced into towns.
Quite right. People living in villages can't expect special protection from the need to house people. It's selfish to expect people to be forced into towns. oxchris
  • Score: -1

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