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Cotswold council to seek judicial review of SoS housing approval

Cotswold District Council has announced plans to launch a legal challenge against the decision by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Sos) Eric Pickles to grant planning permission for two developments totalling 289 new homes in Tetbury, Gloucestershire.03 Apr 2013

Pickles approved both plans via the Planning Inspectorate in February following the Council's refusal of the plans in March 2011 and January 2012 respectively.

In both decisions, the SoS pointed to the Council's shortfall in its five year housing land supply under the National Planning Policy Framework which he said outweighed potential harm to the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

The Council said in a statement that it had sought legal advice and believed that there are "reasonable grounds" for judicial review of the decision.

“We think we have a valid case both in terms of the approach the Planning Inspectorate has taken towards the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in relation to major housing development, and also their consideration of the overall number of houses required," said the Council's deputy leader Nick Parsons. 

"We are particularly concerned that the Planning Inspectorate assessed that Cotswold District Council is a ‘persistent under deliverer of housing’ because this view is completely at odds with the evidence. Furthermore, the inspector assigned to an appeal relating to Kemble (37-page / 332KB PDF) – only a month before the Tetbury appeals - expressly rejected that argument,” he said.

 “I can also confirm that, together with Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, our local MP, we have sought an urgent meeting with planning minister Nick Boles to discuss recent appeals which have gone against the council," added Council leader Lynden Stowe. "We will be spelling out exactly why these decisions are unacceptable to the district and our residents,” he said.

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