High court challenge to Henfield neighbourhood plan succeeds

A high court challenge to Henfield's neighbourhood plan has succeeded.

Friday, 14th October 2016, 5:23 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:57 am

The plan was formally adopted by Horsham District Council in April, following a village referendum where 94.5 per cent of the 1,533 residents who voted gave it their support.

However developers looking to build 72 homes on the Sandgate Nurseries site to the west of Henfield lodged a judicial review against the plan.

HDC rejected the application back in November 2014, and the developer’s appeal is currently with the Secretary of State.

This followed similar decisions to reject 102 homes east of Manor Close and 160 homes north of West End Lane, both of which were overturned and allowed on appeal by the planning inspector.

Developers argued that the neighbourhood plan had failed to lawfully assess reasonable alternatives to the spatial strategy, in particular permitting houses on the western edge of Henfield, had failed to consider alternatives to the built up area boundary of the village, and failed to give reasons why the plan met EU objectives.

In her judgement released this week, Justice Patterson said: “Anyone reading the HNP would be of the view that significant development on the western side of Henfield would lead to unsustainable pressure on the local road system.

“Beyond assertion by local residents who had made the same point at the West End Lane appeal when it had been rejected, there was no evidence to support the view expressed for the rejection of Option C in the HNP.”

But she said that the rejection of Option C, which was for sites on the western boundary of Henfield, is ‘unsupported by anything other than guesswork’.

She added: “As I have found, the process was flawed because it did not present an accurate picture of the alternatives so that they could be considered on a comparable basis.

“The real problem here was that the parish council failed to grapple with the changing highways information in relation to sites on the west of Henfield.”

What do you think of the decision? Comment below or email the newsdesk.

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