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1,400-home Hampshire development approval to face judicial review

A High Court judge has given permission for the judicial review of a Hampshire council's decision to approve plans for a 1,400-home development on the site of a hotel and golf course to the east of Southampton, according to a report in Planning Magazine.04 Sep 2014

Eastleigh Borough Council granted outline planning permission for developer M A Botley and Southern and Regional Developments' plans in November 2013, after the Council's planning committee resolved to approve the plans at a meeting in February 2013. The proposals include the redevelopment of the golf course around the Botley Park Hotel to provide around 1,400 new homes.

The scheme also includes 4,355 square metres of business floorspace, a new community centre, a primary school, and improvements to the existing hotel. Public open spaces, allotments, a network of footpaths and cycle ways, and improvements to the local highways network are also planned.

Local campaign group, the Botley Parish Action Group (BPAG) sought permission for a judicial review of the planning committee's decision to approve the plans, and, according to the Planning Magazine report, Lord Justice Patten gave permission on Monday for the challenge to proceed.

Speaking on behalf of BPAG, barrister Annabel Graham-Paul argued that the planning committee's decision was "premature", the report said. While the Boorley Green and Botley site is allocated in the emerging local plan (272-page / 6.0 MB PDF) for "1,700 dwellings plus community facilities", the site had not yet been earmarked for development at the time of the decision, the barrister said.

Graham-Paul also noted that the plans had received over 300 objections and that local residents had put forward an alternative site for the development, at Allington Lane, which was "of lesser environmental value" and a more "sustainable and suitable" location for a major development.

Granting permission for the challenge, Lord Justice Patten reportedly said that the committee may have been "materially misled" by the planning officer for the case, since it was possible that the committee was obliged to consider the suitability of alternative development sites given the "exceptional" scale of the proposals.

A full judicial review hearing is expected to be heard in the High Court in the next few months.