Brookhouse denied High Court appeal

Rachael Tinniswood

Property investor John Hindle's Brookhouse Group has been refused permission to appeal a High Court decision to turn down its legal attempt to stop a rival development in Preston.

Lord Justice Roberts rejected Brookhouse's claim that Preston Council had unlawfully granted consent to rival developer Countryside Properties for 605 flats on the town's Queen Street retail park site.

The dispute stretches back to December 1999, when Countryside, in a joint venture with the largest landowner on the site, was granted outline consent for a 72,500 sq ft superstore.

In October 2000, Countryside requested an amendment of the application, which would allow for "other town centre uses and residential units".

The developer later made, and was granted, an application for "approval of reserved matters" that included the construction of 605 flats as well as the superstore on the site.

Brookhouse, which is seeking planning permission for its own £100m, 24-storey mixed use tower on the same site with 20,000 sq ft of offices, 65 flats, a hotel and a food store, challenged the approval in the high court in October 2007.

It claimed that, because the outline planning consent that had already been granted had been for a mainly commercial scheme, the approval of Countryside's new scheme had been an impermissible and unlawful extension of that.

The original appeal court judge dismissed Brookhouse's challenge, stating that he was "entirely satisfied that there is no arguable case that the reserved matters approval exceeds the outline planning permission."

Richards refused Brookhouse permission to appeal that finding, on the grounds that there had been no "error of law" in the judge's decision and the appeal against it was "misconceived".

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