High Court victory for developers who refused take no for an answer in Milton Keynes

Protest
Protest

Tenacious developers have scored a High Court victory in their  three year battle to build 203 homes on Milton Keynes countryside.

The battle, conducted by barristers, is likely to have cost the developers and MK Council huge sums of money.

The costly saga started when Wavendon Properties Ltd first applied for planning permission in 2016 to build the new homes between Wavendon and Woburn Sands.

Their bid was refused by councillors, against the advice of council officers, on the grounds that it could cause "significant and demonstrable harm" to the rural area's infrastructure and was contrary to the neighbourhood plan.

Wavendon Properties promptly lodged an appeal, which was heard by a planning inspector following a public local inquiry.

But local protest was so strong that the Secretary of State agreed to 'call in' the appeal and handle the matter himself. He subsequently ruled that the planning application should not be granted.

Undaunted, Wavendon Properties directors Mark and Matthew Storey went to the High Court of Justice Queen's Bench division to appeal against both Milton Keynes Council and the Secretary of State of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

They have now won the case after Judge Mr Justice Dove criticised the "inadequacy" of Secretary of State's reasons for refusing the development and ordered his decision be quashed.

The matter will now be passed back to the planning inspector to make a decision.

This means Wavendon and Woburn Sands residents are poised for another protest, saying their area is already suffering under the strain of too many new housing developments.

Others, including many councillors, fear that the granting of the Wavendon Properties development would open the floodgates to unwanted and unplanned housing across the whole of MK.

Local authorities control all future housing plans through the 'five year land supply', and Wavendon Properties had argued at the time of their original application that MK Council was failing to meet its target for this supply.

But the council's development control committee chair Councillor John Bint has this week dismissed this argument as no longer applicable.

He said: "The council and its Plan:MK is now deemed to have its five year land supply and I very much hope the inspector upholds the council's decision to refuse this planning permission."