Legal challenge dismissed by High Court

A LONG running dispute with a major brewer over a planning blueprint has resulted in victory for a council in the High Court.

Selby District Council leader Coun Mark Crane
Selby District Council leader Coun Mark Crane

The High Court yesterday dismissed a challenge brought by Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery, in Tadcaster, to the adopted Selby District Core Strategy Local Plan - a long-term blueprint for delivering jobs, homes and services within the district up to 2027.

A revised blueprint was adopted by Selby District Council last October after a bitter planning battle which saw initial proposals withdrawn following concerns raised by the region’s oldest brewery.

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The document had to be suspended in the autumn of 2011 after concerns were raised by a Government-appointed planning inspector over house-building targets.

The planning inspector acknowledged fears from Yorkshire’s oldest brewery, Samuel Smith’s, and others that the council expanding into green belt land to meet housing targets, and major growth planned for Tadcaster, represented deficiencies in the proposals.

Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery challenged the adoption of the document at the High Court.

A hearing took place before Mr Justice Ouseley at the High Court in Leeds in July this year. His judgement, handed down at the Royal Court Courts of Justice in London yesterday, dismissed the brewery’s challenge.

Coun Mark Crane, the leader of the council said: “We welcome the judgement given today which comprehensively dismisses the challenge brought by the brewery. It took a tremendous amount of work over a number of years to get the document prepared and adopted; it was disappointing to face this challenge but we now have a document that will drive business and housing growth to 2027.

“The core strategy is a vital part of helping us to support new business growth and jobs, as well as giving people access to the housing they need.”

The judgement means the council can move forward with the next stage of the local plan, now looking at allocating specific sites for growth of jobs, homes and services and detailed planning policies.

The core strategy sets the overall ambition for the scale of business and housing development as well as strategic policies on a wide range of topics, including delivering affordable housing, promoting sustainable development, supporting town centres, ensuring access to local services and protecting important environmental assets.

The delays over the Core Strategy were the latest problems to emerge in a fractious relationship between the council and the Tadcaster-based Samuel Smith’s brewery, including a long-running row over the re-development of a car park in the centre of the town.

The brewery did not respond to requests for comment following yesterday’s High Court ruling.