Bath and North East Somerset Council has now issued a decision notice granting planning permission for the Cricket Club student housing development. As you will be aware, BPT believes the decision by B&NES Development Management Committee (against officer recommendation) was flawed (read our response) and will be taking legal advice about proceeding with a Judicial Review – which if proceeded with will need to be filed within 6 weeks.
We have received strong support from members who have pledged sufficient funds for us to be confident about undergoing the first phase of legal proceedings, however we have not met the full cost and if anyone else would like to pledge, now is the time to do so! Please fill in this form and send it in to the Trust.
A small minority of members responding to the last appeal for funds questioned whether it was appropriate for BPT to spend money in this way. Taking legal action of this sort is a last resort of many campaigning organisations like ourselves (e.g. SAVE Britain’s Heritage, CPRE). Our planning system gives no third party right of appeal to planning approvals, even though there is a right of appeal for applicants against refusals. This means the only way of fighting inappropriate development, if approved, is first to request a call-in from the Secretary of State (on planning grounds) and then, if that is unsuccessful, to argue, if there is a case, for a Judicial Review of the decision-making process itself. We would not be taking forward this case if we didn’t believe there was at least some chance of success.
Although our request for call-in was refused, a recent Court of Appeal case has ruled that the Secretary of State must give reasoned decisions for refusing to call-in an application. We will therefore be writing again to the Secretary of State to request a more detailed explanation of the failure to call-in this decision.