Fiasco over 180-home Malmesbury development takes another turn
2:19pm Friday 22nd March 2013 in News
DEVELOPERS who won an appeal to build 180 houses at Malmesbury, only to be told the decision was issued in error, claim the withdrawal is not legal.
In a strongly-worded letter to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol, Gleeson Strategic Land states that the Secretary of State has no power to withdraw the permission given by inspector Colin Thompson on March 18.
And it warns it will vigorously defend any attempt to quash or revoke the permission.
Councillors and community representatives who have been working on the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan for the area’s future development were devastated when the inspector’s decision was revealed.
Just a day later they believed that had been given a reprieve when planning minister Nick Boles said he had issued an instruction that the application was to be decided at ministerial level, but because of a mistake that instruction had not arrived at the Planning Inspectorate, who issued the permission without authority.
Yesterday Gleeson responded yesterday with a letter from Jim Ryan, head of legal services stating that the inspector’s decision letter was a “lawful grant of planning permission” which the Secretary of State has no legal power to withdraw.
“It is thus obvious that he cannot, as a matter of law, recover the decision for his own determination; the decision has already been taken.”
Even if there was a breakdown in communication within the Government and the inspectorate, it did not alter the fact that lawful planning permission had been granted.
According to the letter the permission remained in force until or unless it was quashed by a court following an application under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1990. Or it could be revoked by the local authority or the Secretary of State, but then compensation would have to be paid.
Mr Ryan warned: “You are advised that Gleeson Strategic Land’s rights in this matter are fully reserved and any attempt to quash or to revoke the permission will, of course, be vigorously defended.
“Should it be the case that the Secretary of State continues to assert that the permission has been withdraw or recovered then Gleeson Strategic Land will respond as necessary to protect the planning permission.”
More follows later