High Court dismisses planning permission challenge to Newton Abbot
Date: 12 March 2021
The High Court (Lang J.) has this week delivered judgment in Abbotskerswell Parish Council v. (1) Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government & (2) Teignbridge District Council and (3) Anthony, Steven & Jull Rew  EWHC 555 (Admin), dismissing the claimant’s challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning permission for a 1200 dwelling residential-led mixed use urban extension at Wolborough Barton, Newton Abbot, in Teignbridge District. The development is the largest allocation in the Teignbridge District Local Plan 2014.
Despite the allocation it was refused planning permission by Teignbridge District Council and proceeded to be considered at a 3 week planning inquiry appeal in 2019. Agreeing with the Inspector, the Secretary of State allowed the appeal and granted planning permission in June 2020. The claimants challenged that decision under s.288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The grounds raised the following principal issues:
- Whether the environmental statement was deficient, and in breach of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, due to the omission of a chapter dealing expressly with the impact of the development on greenhouse gas generation and climate change; and
- Whether reservation to the reserved matters stage of details as to how the impact of development would avoid adverse impacts on the rare greater horseshoe bat population of the South Hams Special Area of Conservation was consistent with the EIA Regulations and the Habitats Regulations.
In an important judgment (available below), Lang J. determined both these issues in favour of the First and Third Defendants, who resisted the claim (the Second Defendant, Teignbridge Council, did not participate in the proceedings) and dismissed the claim. Permission to appeal was refused.
Charles Banner QC (leading Matthew Henderson) appeared for the successful Third Defendants, the beneficiaries of the planning permission. Instructed by Clarke Willmott LLP. He also appeared for them at the public inquiry in 2019.