Permission sought to challenge loss of public open space

ELF has assisted a community group in Lancashire to issue legal proceedings challenging planning permission for a development which fails to comply with local public open space (POS) requirements.

The group, ‘Save our Stanah’, have been fighting a proposed major housing development at a derelict pig farm on the outskirts of their village, and approached ELF in October 2017. Located in open countryside and with a number of sensitive nature features including being close to a European protected site, the proposal had been controversial.

When considering the original outline application, the council noted that the provision of POS within the development was insufficient and did not comply with the local planning policy, but stressed that this could be dealt with at the reserved matters stage. Permission was subsequently granted for the outline application on appeal, with a condition that the appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of the development be reserved matters.

At the reserved matters stage, the council again noted that the provision of POS was insufficient. However, on this occasion, the council’s planning officer stated that the council was unable to consider the matter because it should have been dealt with at the outline stage. The local community were left feeling extremely frustrated.

When SOS approached ELF we also found it difficult to understand the decision and thought that the advice given to the planning committee that it could not consider the provision of POS at the reserved matters stage may be wrong as a matter of law. With the sterling efforts of barrister Ben Fullbrook at Landmark Chambers acting under the ELF pro bono scheme, a local resident has issued proceedings seeking permission to challenge the decision. We await the decision of the Administrative Court at Manchester on whether permission has been granted.

Photo: Save our Stanah