Villagers score shock homes win as second inquiry battle looms

Proposed site for 100 new homes in Yapton, behind St Mary's Church and south of Ford Lane SUS-150713-103940001
Proposed site for 100 new homes in Yapton, behind St Mary's Church and south of Ford Lane SUS-150713-103940001

Villagers fighting scores of new homes have cause for celebration after the High Court supported their wishes and dimissed a developer’s challenge.

An appeal against the Government’s decsion to refuse Keith Langmead Limited permission to build 100 homes south of Ford Lane, Yapton, was dismissed by a judge last week.

The plans were contrary to Yapton’s neighbourhood plan – a legal document crafted by residents to outline their vision for housebuilding in their area.

Vicky Newman, chairman of Yapton Parish Council’s planning committee, said: “It is fantastic news. I think it has taken everyone by surprise and every parish, town council and local group working on neighbourhood plans should be really encouraged by it.

“It is putting the teeth back into neighbourhood plans.”

The developer had argued the decision by local government secretary Sajid Javid had over-egged the weight that should be given to a neighbourhood plan.

More weight, it said, should be given to Arun’s troubles in identifying enough suitable land for housing to meet demands.

It could yet lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Arun District Council Cabinet member for planning and infrastructure Ricky Bower said: “I welcome the High Court decision which helps to clarify the relationship between neighbourhood plans and the local plan but there are implications for other challenges based on neighbourhood plans not only in Arun but throughout the country.”

The news comes as a welcome boost ahead of another major planning decision for the village.

A public inquiry will be held next week over controversial plans for Burndell Road.

Arun approved plans for 108 homes in June but the application was called-in.

The parish council now faces a different fight to the Ford Lane battle, with Arun supportive of the plans.

Mrs Newman said the parish council would represent residents at the inquiry, at Bognor Regis Town Hall from Tuesday, but it would do so without the luxury of costly professional legal representation which Arun and Gleeson Homes would likely have.