Council have asked to defer the deadline to respond to a lawyer’s letter
setting out ADVEARSE’s proposed claim for a judicial review against the outline
planning permission for the Vearse Farm development. Officially, a response should be expected
within 14 days of receipt of the pre-action protocol letter sent by Leigh Day
official decision notice granting outline planning permission to Hallam Land
Management was issued on election day, Thursday 2 May. ADVEARSE has just six weeks from this date (deadline
13 June) to apply for the judicial review.
In accordance with legal requirements, Leigh Day sent the pre-action letter,
addressed to the council’s legal department, on 8 May. Dorset Council says the letter was received
on 9 May but that it took a further four days for it to reach the legal
department through internal mail. In
their interim reply the council has said it cannot make the deadline of 23 May
and has asked for a further extension to 6 June, four weeks after the letter
was received. It says it needs the time
to prepare a response, despite reporting in Local Government Lawyer on
21 March 2019 that it was aware of ADVEARSE’s intentions.
Chairman Barry Bates says ‘The decision notice was issued on the afternoon
before a bank holiday weekend and before the new council had a chance to be
elected. Luckily, we and our lawyers
have been on standby awaiting the decision notice for almost 18 months since
the planning committee made its initial decision to allow the development to go
the council’s delays will not affect the time limit
for the judicial review application, its failure to meet
the 14-day deadline may be taken into account by the court and costs sanctions
imposed. Leigh Day is asking for a
compromise deadline of 27 May.
meantime, ADVEARSE has, after initial legal and other costs, just over £12,000
left to raise of its £34,000 target money.
It must raise this money before 13 June or the legal action cannot be actioned
and the Vearse Farm development cannot be stopped.
Treasurer Phil Summerton says ‘People wouldn’t object if this was a
smaller-scale development of genuinely low-cost housing for local people. But this is set to be a luxury estate for second-home
owners and will bring in retirees on a massive scale. This goes against national protections for
AONB land, but local democracy has let us down and now the only recourse
appears to be to the law. This is our
very last chance to stop the Vearse Farm development.’
residents have rallied round contributing direct donations of £10,000 and these
have been matched by a donation of £10,000 from Dorset CPRE. A further £3,560 has been raised through the
Bridport-based Crowdfunder website: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-west-dorset-aonb.
Support is now being sought from further afield in
recognition that Vearse Farm, the biggest development ever to be allowed on
AONB land, will set a dangerous precedent for urban sprawl all over the UK countryside.
about ADVEARSE can be found at: http://www.advearse.org.uk/about-advearse/
Email: [email protected]