William Eichler 11 October 2019

Ashford BC’s local plan ‘legally sound’, court rules

Ashford BC’s local plan ‘legally sound’, court rules  image

The High Court has rejected a case brought against Ashford Borough Council’s local plan, which the court concluded was legally ‘sound’.

The firm Bellamile objected to Network Rail’s proposals to bring part of a former Bombardier site back into use as a light maintenance train depot – a proposal the council’s planning committee approved in July 2019.

Lawyers acting for Bellamile challenged the safeguarding of the site for railway uses for a period of up to two years, which commenced with the adoption of the Ashford Local Plan on 21 February 2019.

Bellamile claimed that the Inspectors erred in concluding that the Local Plan was sound.

They argued that inadequate reasons were given by the Inspectors for safeguarding the site for railway uses for a period of up to two years. They also said the council’s decision to adopt the Local Plan was irrational.

Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing dismissed the accusations and awarded the council almost £34,000 in legal costs, which has now been paid by Bellamile.

She also said that Bellamile had failed to bring its claim in the time allowed and in the correct way.

Cllr Gerry Clarkson, leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: ‘I am pleased that our Local Plan has withstood this examination in the courts and I want to congratulate all the staff who have worked diligently and with great skill and professionalism in preparing the Local Plan, and in defending it in court.’

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