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Daws Hill Neighbourhood Forum granted judicial review

Daws Hill Neighourhood Forum (DHNF) has been granted permission for judicial review of Wycombe District Council's (WDC) modifications of the group's proposed neighbourhood plan to exclude two development sites from the plan. 28 Jan 2013

Daws Hill Residents' Association had applied to the Council for designation of the Daws Hill Neighbourhood Forum and Neighbourhood Area, which included development sites at RAF Daws Hill and Handy Cross Sports Centre. However, when the Council agreed to designate the area in September last year, it modified the area to exclude the two sites.

The RAF Daws Hills site is owned by developer Taylor Wimpey, which plans to build around 500 homes there. The other development site at Handy Cross Sports Centre includes plans for a new £27m sports centre with modern facilities.

DHNF claims that the Council's decision was contrary to the Localism Act in that it took into account irrelevant considerations and gave "inadequate and improper" reasons when making the decision.

“The action by WDC on the neighbourhood area limited DHNF’s ability to influence development on those sites in contradiction of the much vaunted Localism Act, which is supposed to give the residents the power to shape the future of where they live," said DHNF chairman Stewart Armstrong according to local reports.

“These sites are clearly within any sensible definition of a neighbourhood area and therefore we believe that we have a good case, which we believe is a first of its kind and we know we’re being watched around the country,” Armstrong said.

“WDC gave its reasons to the forum and these referred to the strategic nature of the sites and the wide ‘communities of interest’," said the Council's head of planning and sustainability Jerry Unsworth according to reports.

“[Other reasons were] the difficult timing with plans and applications for the sites well advanced and the other opportunities for the community to input to the planning of these strategic sites," he said.

“Both the sites are major developments which will affect, benefit and be used by people across our district and beyond," Unsworth said.

The judicial review hearing is scheduled to take place on 21 and 22 February. 

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