Legal challenge against 400 Pagham homes fails

Site location plan for 400 homes south of Summer Lane in Pagham
Site location plan for 400 homes south of Summer Lane in Pagham

A High Court legal challenge brought against plans for 400 Pagham homes has been lost.

Arun District Council’s development control committee granted planning permission for the homes south of Summer Lane last year.

This was despite massive concerns in the parish about this development and two other large-scale housing schemes being proposed.

Pagham Parish Council launched a judicial review, but this was dismissed by a High Court judge last week.

The parish council argued that the committee had not fully considered the impact of the development on the listed St Thomas à Becket Church, while the officer’s report had inadequately summarised the views of Historic England.

But Mrs Justice Andrews said: “This case is yet another example of the type of nit-picking scrutiny of a planning officer’s report which is to be utterly deprecated.”

She suggested the parish council’s challenge was ‘fundamentally misconceived’ and suggested it has been ‘obviously poring over the planning officer’s report trying to find any basis that they can for overturning the decision’.

Meanwhile the officer’s report was described as being fair and accurate as well as providing a ‘proper approach required by law’.

The parish council is now faced with paying its own costs of around £40,000 as well as around £10,000 for Arun’s.

A spokesman for Arun said: “The district council is naturally pleased that the judgement has upheld the decision that it made in November 2018.

“The council had concerns about the grounds for the challenge that were brought and the judge has confirmed that the challenge ‘fundamentally misconceived’ and comprised a ‘nit-picking scrutiny’ which was ‘utterly deprecated’. “The judge concluded that there was no basis for challenging the planning officer’s report and the decision of the council.

“Arun District Council will now recover its costs associated with this action from Pagham Parish Council.”