A HIGH Court judge has backed Wokingham Borough Council after a developer questioned its long-term plan for house building in the borough.
Gladman Developments – which had an outline proposal for building 120 homes on land to the west of Beech Hill Road, in Spencers Wood rejected in September last year – had taken the council to the High Court arguing its Local Plan for housing for the next 12 years was out of date and flawed.
Gladman Developments had argued the figure outlined in the plan of building more than 13,200 new homes between 2006 and 2026 was not high enough and was based on an out-of-date assessment of housing needs in the borough.
However, at the High Court this month, Mr Justice Lewis upheld the Local Plan – adopted in February – saying the council had gone through all of the necessary and correct procedures.
Borough council leader Keith Baker said: “We have had a number of appeals to the planning inspectorate where we have won more than we have lost, but to get confirmation from a High Court judge that our plan is sound is a totally different kind of confirmation entirely. It is very significant.” Gladman Developments had hoped to quash part or all of the council’s Local Plan which was adopted after a thorough examination by a government inspector, If the judge had taken the developer’s side, the most likely outcome would be a greater chance of the developer securing planning permission on appeal as the council would have needed to find additional development sites.
An appeal to the Planning Inspectorate over the proposal has yet to be heard due to the proceedings in the High Court.
A public hearing into the plans is expected to commence in November.
Cllr Baker added: “We are very hopeful on the back of this High Court judgment that we will win that appeal.” Gladman Developments declined to comment when contacted by the News.