PLANS for 190 homes off Allimore Lane, in Alcester, were rejected this week - just hours before Stratford District Council was warned it could face costs of well over £200,000 if it loses the appeal on another scheme it rejected three months ago.
The first scheme, also in the vicinity of Allimore Lane, was for 160 homes. In the current planning climate, with no new local plan yet in place and an inability to demonstrate a five-year supply of land for housing, the council is increasingly finding itself between a rock and a hard place as it tries to stave off unwanted development in the district.
Both schemes were due to be considered by the council’s west area planning committee at its meeting on 4th June, but the debate on the plans for 160 homes took up so much time that the second set of proposals had to be deferred. The proposals for 190 homes were eventually heard on Monday night at St Benedict’s RC School in Alcester and, like the previous scheme, were rejected.
The reasons for the rejection of the second scheme were much the same as the first:
Although all those opposing the two schemes welcomed Monday’s decision, there’s little doubt that the council has presented itself with yet another headache.
It’s generally assumed that the developers will appeal against the decision and council officers this week issued a dire warning of potential appeal costs to the council—and council taxpayers. In papers prepared for the council’s regulatory committee next Thursday the officials are warning that it could cost the authority a total of £105,000 to defend the appeal on the 160-home development.
But the officials also point out that if the appellants consider the council has behaved unreasonably they could make an application for an award of costs, which were likely to be substantially more than the council’s own costs.
In a separate session of the regulatory committee which will be held in private, councillors will be briefed on the legal opinion being given to the council. They will be extremely sensitive to the fact that the council recently lost an appeal concerning the former Norgren site in Shipston and found itself having to pay the appellants’ costs—thought to be in the region of £150,000—as well as its own costs.
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