Pickles fails to stop greenfield development
The High Court has rejected an appeal by communities secretary Eric Pickles that sought to block 280 homes being built on a greenfield site in Cheshire.
Lord Justice Pill agreed on Friday last week with the High Court decision in March that Fox Land and Property should be allowed to build on 15.6 hectares of agricultural land off Abbey Road and Middlewich Road in Sandbach.
Mr Pickles refused the developer permission last September saying granting permission would compromise the emerging local development framework being drawn up by Cheshire East Council for the area.
But Lord Justice Pill agreed with Judge Gilbart QC’s ruling in March, which found the secretary of state had not taken into account his own decision in relation to another nearby greenfield site, also on the edge of Sandbach.
Although Mr Pickles originally tried to stop Richborough Estates building 269 homes on a greenfield site, he relented when the developer challenged his decision at the High Court in October 2011. This happened just a month after he made the decision on the Fox Land and Property case.
Judge Gilbart wrote in his judgement: ‘In the Richborough [case]… the secretary of state concluded that the development would not conflict with the spatial policy objectives for the area, whereas in the Fox case he concluded that it could do so. No reasons are given for the stark difference in approach.’
He later added: ‘In my judgement he [Eric Pickles] has misunderstood his own policy, and has failed to apply it.’
A Communites and Local Government department spokesperson said: ‘The department will now consider the case again and will come to a decision in due course.’ Neither the developer nor Cheshire East Council wished to comment.