Council wins legal battle to prevent development on greenfield site

The site at Blean Common developer Gladman Homes wanted to build on

The city council has won a significant legal victory against a proposed housing development in Blean.

Developer Gladman Homes had been turned down for planning permission for an 85-house estate on greenfield land at Blean Common.

But a planning inspector subsequently overturned the decision after Gladman appealed, prompting the council to issue legal proceedings against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in the High Court.

Over two days in court in April, the council argued the inspector misinterpreted relevant policies in both its Local Plan at the time, and the then emerging Local Plan, about development on greenfield land.

The council’s Head of Planning, Simon Thomas, said: “It is highly unusual for us to take the government to court in this way, but there are important issues at stake here.

“Our Local Plan has very clear policies on where we will allow development and on the protection of our precious countryside. The Inspector misinterpreted these and reached a decision that we felt we had no option but to challenge on behalf of local residents.

“It is not the end for this specific planning application, though, as the Planning Inspectorate is now required to reconsider the appeal.”

The council refused the Gladman application because it was deemed a “sporadic form of development” outside of the village area of Blean which would ruin the appearance of surrounding countryside.

At the High Court today Mr Justice Dove backed the council’s case. He quashed the decision of the planning inspector and the appeal will have to be looked at by a different Inspector.

The Secretary of State must also pay council’s legal costs of £19,218. There is the right of appeal against the court’s decision.


  1. This was the one that split the Planning Committee 6:5 to refuse on a recommendation to refuse. CA//16/01153/OUT . It is of particular relevance to Whitstable; as well as Blean. ‘The Inspector misinterpreted these’. CCC, could we have some detail on these please since it presented the arguments to the court. There is no link in the press release. It is also important that all councillors understand the points. One of the Planning committee has to abstain because he was late. had he been minded to approve, the development would have gone ahead and the council has no track record as far as I know of taking itself to court if the councillor make the wrong decision: however wrong.


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