SUTTON PARK: We’ve given up challenge

Protestors Glenn Eldridge and Laura Hargreaves who live opposite the park,  with the men behind the plans Peter Smeaton and Jerry Harrall, at an exhibition about the planned homes back in 2012.
Protestors Glenn Eldridge and Laura Hargreaves who live opposite the park, with the men behind the plans Peter Smeaton and Jerry Harrall, at an exhibition about the planned homes back in 2012.
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I write on behalf of Long Sutton Parish Council, which has seriously reviewed the situation in relation to proceeding with a judicial review against the Sutton Park development on the former Butterfly Park site.

Due to the potential costs of between £30,000 to £45,000 to pursue the matter further, councillors have, reluctantly, come to the decision that it is not financially feasible to proceed with any claim.

It is also important to note that the strain on infrastructure, such as schools, health centres and dentists, are also not considered

That said, they remain of the view that the granting of planning permission for the Sutton Park development was flawed and are disappointed that South Holland District Council and its members maintained their support for the development, despite vociferous opposition from the residents of the town.

It is even more disappointing that the conditions and amendments to the development will now be dealt with by building control regulations and that the quality of the development will not be to the high specifications which the district council based its decision on when granting permission outside of the present planning boundary.

The council also advises that, if the claim had proceeded, it would not have been possible for the developer to recover any losses allegedly incurred in connection with the judicial review (apart from the normal rules on costs).

That is not provided for in the rules or by way of precedent as it would be contrary to the public interest in challenging unlawful decision-making and this should be noted by anyone wishing to challenge future planning applications and are confronted by developers who intimate they may take legal action against them.

The council also remains disappointed that its complaint to the district council was not upheld and the support of a local ward member was not forthcoming and whose vote was in favour of the developer.

If he had supported his ward, the amendments to the application would not have been granted and may have resulted in a very different outcome.

It should also be noted that the Localism Act and neighbourhood plans can only be used as documents to attempt to enhance any future development that may be thrust on your community, not tools to oppose it.

The consultations for the new draft strategic local plan will be later in the year and it is important that all parishes and residents take part in the consultations in an attempt to have their voices heard with regard to their communities and their environments.

It is also important to note that the strain on infrastructure, such as schools, health centres and dentists, are also not considered a factor when applications are considered.