Judicial reviews of council are refused

The Memorial Playing Fields, where Steyning Parish Council wants to build a skate park
The Memorial Playing Fields, where Steyning Parish Council wants to build a skate park

TWO judicial reviews served on Steyning Parish Council have been refused.

But members of the council’s finance and community committee were told on Tuesday an appeal had been made and a court date was awaited.

Committee chairman Tim Lloyd said: “Steyning Parish Council has recently been served with two claims for judicial review in relation to its planning application submitted to Horsham District Council for a skateboard facility on the Memorial Playing Field, to which Steyning Parish Council filed a robust Grounds of Defence in response.

“Steyning Parish Council has now been notified that on considering the papers the court has refused permission in respect of both claims for judicial review

“However, Steyning Parish Council understand that the claimant has made a request for the decision to be reconsidered at a hearing. A court date is awaited.”

Paul Campbell, vice-chairman of the Friends of Memorial Playing Field, served the judicial reviews.

He said previously: “The aim of my judicial review case is to ask a High Court judge to require the parish council to comply with its legal duty, which it has hitherto ignored, to have regard to the National Park statutory purpose ‘to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area’.

“It is clear that in deciding to introduce an ancillary car park onto the MPF next to the skate park, SPC did not give this duty any thought at all; if it had, it is hard to see how it could have come to the conclusion that this car park with bunding similar to that which it is removing from the skatepark itself in order to satisfy the HDC landscape officer, was appropriate.”

Many in the town feared the judicial reviews had been served in a bid to ‘bring down’ the council.

Mr Lloyd told the committee on Tuesday: “Our insurers will cover the cost up to a specified amount, which will cover part or all of the cost.”

He added that the specified amount would not be revealed at this time.

He also proposed a review of the information provided on the council website, including monthly accounts, in order to avoid Freedom of Information requests in the future.