But the district council was so fearful of incurring massive costs if it lost the ensuing appeal that it decided not to defend its own rejection of the housing proposals.

This meant that the local protest group that had been vociferously opposing the two developments was left high and dry and had to withdraw as a formal objector for fear that it, too, would find itself at the receiving end of a hefty bill for costs.

One again the council’s current lack of a local plan and its inability to demonstrate a five-year supply of land for housing have played a major part in the government’s decision to overrule local opinion.

Crucially, the government said the planning appeal inspector gave “little weight” to the council’s emerging core strategy because it had not been the subject of master planning or of an examination in public.

For fuller reports and analysis see next week’s papers.