Moorfields Richborough

Richborough takes Moorfields resi to Court of Appeal

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Richborough Estates has secured a December date for a Court of Appeal hearing, the latest stage in an ongoing dispute with Cheshire East Council over a 146-home scheme near Moorfields, Willaston.

The appeal is against a High Court ruling from February, in which High Court judge Justice Lang backed Cheshire East Council's refusal of the Moorfields development and said that there had been an "error of law" when the development had been approved at appeal last August.

The council's strategic planning board first rejected the application for the 16-acre site in April 2014, saying that the scheme was unsustainable as it is located within open countryside, would result in the loss of agricultural land, and would cause a "significant erosion" of the green gap.

In August following two site visits, planning inspector Alan Boyland overturned the council's refusal, on the basis that Cheshire East could not demonstrate a five-year housing supply and, due to the many objections against it, the local plan could only be given "limited weight" as it was likely to change.

Boyland's decision was then overruled by the High Court judgement in February 2015.

According to a statement from Richborough, the developer believes that this judgement erred in law.

Lord Justice Sullivan granted Richborough permission to appeal, and in his reasoning said that "the Grounds of Appeal have a real prospect of success. There is also a compelling reason to give permission to appeal: the ambit of 'relevant policies for the supply of housing' in paragraph 49 of the NPPF is rightly described in the appellant's skeleton as an issue that is of critical importance to the application of national planning policy throughout the country."

Cheshire East Council was unavailable to comment at the time of publication.

Barton Willmore advises Richborough on planning.

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