DEVELOPERS who fought a protracted legal battle with the Government to build 180 houses on the edge of Malmesbury say they are selling the site because of the delay.

“If the consent had not been messed about with by the Secretary of State a year ago we would have been on site,” said Scott Chamberlin, managing director of Gleeson Strategic Land.

He told the Standard the company was selling the land at Filands jointly with the owners and was looking to form a partnership with another firm to build the houses.

“The delay in the permission meant that, from our point of view it does not currently sit in our building programme for Malmesbury so it makes sense to sell.”

But he added: “We still have a significant interest in the rest of the land.”

“Like most housebuilders we have a finite amount of resources that we can put into it at any one stage,” he explained. “We have to look at whether we have the right management team available at that time.”

The contracting and project management teams they wanted to use on the development were no longer available because they were working on developments elsewhere.

Working with another developer would enable the homes to be built to the standard that we would expect if we were building them.”

Three weeks ago the Government announced it would not challenge an Appeal Court ruling that meant Gleeson could go ahead with the development. It was the end of a year-long legal battle between Government and Gleeson.

The judgement overturned an earlier ruling that Secretary of State Eric Pickles could call in the application even though a planning inspector had already granted permission.

A communications breakdown meant the inspector did not see a Department for Communities and Local Government instruction to refer the appeal to the planning minister for the final decision.