Council to launch High Court appeal over Balk development decision

East Riding of Yorkshire Council is intending to lodge a High Court appeal over a ‘damaging’ decision which controversially gave the green light to more than 500 homes being built on two prime sites in the area, including one in Pocklington.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 10:40 am
The Balk area in Pocklington.
The Balk area in Pocklington.

Earlier this month councillors expressed anger after Government Inspector Claire Searson overturned an earlier refusal of planning permission for 380 homes off The Balk, in favour of developers Gladman Developments.

Ms Searson also gave Gladman permission to build another 150 homes on 8.5 hectares of land used as a paddock at Swanland.

East Riding Council said it intended to appeal the decision through a challenge under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act.

It is now ‘taking advice’ before submitting the appeal.

The Lib Dems claim further legal action could cost the taxpayer £200,000.

Deputy council leader Mike Stathers said it was ‘good news’ adding: “We have already had serious concerns from residents and other housing developers that this would open the floodgates to speculative developers, which is something we will obviously rigorously fight at all costs, bearing in mind these schemes are on unallocated land.”

However, opposition Liberal Democrats say unless East Riding Council addresses issues highlighted in Ms Searson’s reports, including what they say is a ‘catastrophic failure’ to provide enough affordable homes, the council is on a ‘hiding to nothing’.

They estimate that the recent public inquiry has already cost the taxpayer £100,000 in officer time and hiring expensive external legal representation.

Lib Dem leader Coun David Nolan said the next stage could cost another £200,000, which could include having to pick up the Planning Inspectorate’s costs if the council loses. And even if they win, he said it would mean another public inquiry, with an uncertain outcome.

Coun Nolan said: “We will be exactly where we were, we’d be back to square one, with another inspector who will no doubt look at the previous inspector’s appeal decisions. Unless they address their own failings, we will go through the High Court, and we will be no better off.”

But Coun Mike Stathers said he had been assured by a senior officer that the council’s bill would be ‘no more than £20,000’.

He said it was a ‘justifiable and worthwhile’ sum, to ‘provide greater protection for Pocklington and other areas in the East Riding from unwanted speculative large-scale housing developments’.