END OF THE ROAD FOR PARISH COUNCIL JR ON HOLY CROSS SITE
The Parish Council has done all it can to challenge the planning permission granted by Chiltern District Council for the development of the Holy Cross site. It has never been against any development but has sought to gain
a better mixed use of this historic site in the heart of our village.
Sadly our JR has now been lost and we would like to thank SENSE and all our residents for their support in this long drawn out process and particularly Cllr Richard Allen who has spent many hours working on this on our behalf.
Persimmon Homes have already commenced site works and we will now work with them to endeavour to keep any disruption to our village to a minimum whilst the works take place.
The below statement was sent out from SENSE.
DEVASTATING NEWS FOR CHALFONT ST PETER
It is with a heavy heart and much sadness that we share the devastating news, that the Parish Council’s ongoing legal battle to save the Holy Cross site from development by Persimmon Homes has been lost, despite a strong legal argument and compelling evidence.
The original proposals for the Holy Cross site were for 400 new dwellings. Although we have not achieved the ideal outcome, with a school, realistically it is quite a success to get that number down to about 180.
The Parish Council’s legal challenge centred on the fact that the planning application for Holy Cross stated that only one area of playing field existed on the site (a single hockey pitch adjacent to Market Place) and therefore, in accordance with council policy, only that area of playing field was been taken into account when outline planning permission for Holy Cross was granted in 2010.
The full extent of playing fields was contested by the Parish Council through several court hearings including the appeal court. The Parish council argued that a much greater area of playing fields existed on the site and because of this the planning permission could not stand, as it was based on incorrect information.
In the final Judgment of the Appeal Court, the Judges ruled that even though the area of playing fields was contested as far back as the original planning meeting in 2010, there had been no consensus of opinion on the matter. The court had to allow the final decision of the planning committee to stand.
The Parish council complained to the court under Civil Procedure Rules. They stated that there was an obvious discrepancy in the facts which had not been addressed and the court had therefore failed to properly reach a decision. They requested the hearing be re-opened and the discrepancy in the facts be fully examined by the court. In May 2016 after a long period of deliberation, the court responded, repeating their view that because there was a disagreement over the facts between the parties, the court could not overturn the decision. As a result the planning permission is, in effect, clear of any further challenge and can proceed.
This was obviously a devastating blow to members of the Parish Council and SENSE, who have fought tirelessly since 2010 to save the site from inappropriate development, in the hope that one day the C of E Academy would relocate its premises on the Holy Cross site.
In April 2013, Persimmon Homes submitted a planning application detailing the layout of the proposed development. This was vehemently contested by SENSE, the Parish Council and a large number of the public. This application was refused by CDC’s planning committee. Persimmon Homes subsequently submitted a revised plan, which although still contentious, was a slight improvement on the first. This was strongly contested, but the application was agreed by the planning committee and planning permission was granted in March 2014. In the mean time, Persimmon Homes lodged an appeal against the decision to refuse the initial application and an inspector overturned CDC’s decision. Persimmon Homes have already started groundwork using the layout in the original application, with some slight modifications. We understand that a proportion of the development contract has been passed to Linden Homes who will be constructing part of the site.
Although we are despondent, the SENSE committee wish to thank the community for their ongoing support in relation to the battle to save Holy Cross, both financially and practically. SENSE would also like to thank Richard Allen for his tenacious and assiduous efforts in this long and often arduous battle to save our village. You can be assured that everything possible has been done. However, SENSE’s work is far from over, as a new and possibly greater threat of large scale development within the village looms large with the Chiltern District Council’s Local Plan. Those of you who attended one of our village meetings in the spring will be aware that the SENSE committee is working closely with the Parish Council to campaign against any further expansion of our rural village. We will update you on any developments regarding the next stage of the consultation process in due course.
You can be assured that the SENSE4CSP committee will continue to fight hard against inappropriate development in Chalfont St Peter on your behalf.