Fareham Borough Council deemed 'guilty of egregious unfairness' over Warsash planning application
A HIGH Court judge has rapped Fareham Borough Council over its handling of a planning application in Warsash, with a hearing that threatened to create a new headache over nitrates pollution.
The High Court hearing saw campaigning group Save Warsash and the Western Wards and other Warsash residents challenge Fareham Borough Council’s decision to grant permission for the homes in Greenaway Lane and Brook Avenue.
The approval of six homes in Greenaway Lane was described as ‘egregious unfairness’ due the council’s ‘late filing of important documents’ for potential objectors to consider, according to the judge.
Mr Justice Jay said: ‘Members and the borough solicitor completely ignored the position of the objectors, who were obviously prejudiced by the late filing of important documents.
‘I must say that the planning committee in this case was guilty of egregious unfairness. I would suggest that my judgment be emailed to all concerned so that lessons may be learned.’
Hilary Megginson, a co-ordinator of the Save Warsash group, said: ‘Resident group Save Warsash and the Western Wards are delighted to have won their High Court case against the council on procedural unfairness grounds.
‘Costs were awarded and the individual planning permission for a site in Warsash will have to be quashed.
‘The council’s application to appeal against this judgement was refused and we hope that the outcome will significantly change the way in which Fareham Council deals with planning applications in the future.’
The legal costs were ‘substantial’, according to the campaigner, who said that the court had awarded two-thirds of their total cost.
A connected hearing regarding Brook Avenue focused on the build-up of nitrates in the Solent, which was ruled as harmful to wildlife by Natural England and required a freeze on house building across the south coast throughout 2019.
Residents questioned whether the council had legally followed Natural England’s advice when approving eight homes on the site – but the High Court judge dismissed the claim.
Executive leader of Fareham council Sean Woodward said he was ‘pleased’ with the nitrates issue result.
The council leader said: ‘Fareham Borough Council has worked hard to find an approach which allows new housing development to take place whilst protecting the marine environment of the Solent.’
The council will have to reconsider the planning application for the Greenaway Lane site.