Owl says: another “follow the money” situation?
“Folkestone & Hythe District Council faces its second judicial review in a year over a dispute concerning a proposed holiday park.
Local businessman Tim Steer was granted an application for the latest judicial review by Deputy High Court judge John Howell QC.
The case concerns an application to develop a 5.5 hectares site at Little Densole Farm, which is within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and locally designated as a special landscape area.
Planning and licensing committee members rejected officers’ advice and allowed the application last year, leading to Mr Steer successfully taking the council to judicial review.
When the application came before them again in July councillors again went against the officers’ recommendation and gave planing permission.
Judge Howell: “It is at least arguable that [the committee] failed to give any reasons for rejecting their officer’s appraisal that the development and associated landscaping proposed would not conserve the existing character of this part of the AONB…and that it would introduce alien and incongruous features that would permanently change the existing character of the landscape in that area.”
Mr Steer said: “Not for the first time the council will waste taxpayers’ money defending the blatantly questionable decisions of its planning and licensing committee, a committee which in my view is not fit for purpose and is unable to grasp or follow policy and legislation.
“It might appear to some that this particular committee simply follows its own agenda.”
He said the project would cause “permanent destruction” of the AONB.
Clive Goddard, chair of the planning and licensing committee, said: “Leave has been granted by the court to apply for judicial review in respect of Little Densole Farm. The council has nothing further to add and will be seeking legal advice.”
Folkestone & Hythe was known until last April as Shepway District Council.”