Preston City Council is preparing to challenge a “fundamentally flawed” decision by the Secretary of State to allow the development of 150 homes on open countryside in Grimsargh.
The scheme by Gladman Developments on Preston Road was granted planning permission on appeal earlier this month, 18 months after the planning application was first submitted at the end of 2014. The council refused the scheme due to its location, and the impact it would have on the surrounding rural area.
In a statement, Preston City Council said that it believes “the decision to grant planning permission, on appeal by the planning inspectorate, is fundamentally flawed and based on incorrect information.
“In particular, when allowing the appeal, the inspector made an error and has miscalculated the supply of housing in Preston over the next five years, which has been given as a key reason for allowing the appeal.”
The council is now seeking permission to lodge a legal challenge against the Secretary of State’s decision at the High Court in Manchester.
Cllr Brian Rollo, chairman of the Council’s planning committee, said: “There were very good reasons for refusing planning permission at Preston Road, Grimsargh so we are disappointed that the planning inspectorate, acting for the Secretary of State, has allowed this development on appeal. The simple fact is we believe they’ve got it wrong and made an error in their calculations, especially about how many homes are being built over the next five years.
“There were strong local objections to the development and as the planning authority we shared those too. It’s basically building on open countryside, so if we don’t stand up and say somebody somewhere has made a mistake, then future planning controls in Preston could be affected.
“That’s why we’ve taken the unusual decision to seek the Court’s permission to challenge the Secretary of State. It’s important that we protect those areas that need protection against development, whilst also recognising the city needs to grow. We are confident we have got that balance right, certainly with the development at Preston Road, Grimsargh and look forward to making our case to the High Court.”