High Court challenge begins over decision to allow 500 homes to be built in Pocklington and Swanland

A High Court challenge has begun over a Government decision which controversially gave the green light to more than 500 homes being built on two prime sites in East Yorkshire.

In an unusual move, East Riding Council is challenging the Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and Gladman Developments over a decision to grant planning permission at appeal to build 380 homes off The Balk in Pocklington and another 150 homes on paddock land at Swanland.

The decision of planning inspector Claire Searson overturned the council's earlier refusal of planning permission.

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File photo of a new house build Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

East Riding Council is claiming that the decision letters issued for each appeal are "infected by the same errors of law".

In June former deputy council leader Mike Stathers said ward councillors and planning officers had been "astonished" at the decision.

He said a development of the type and size proposed by Gladman for the outskirts of Pocklington would have a "major detrimental impact on many aspects of life" for local people.

But opposition leader David Nolan said both decisions were caused by a “catastrophic failure” to keep housing land supply up to date and meet building targets.

Applications for the Pocklington and Swanland developments, lodged in 2018 and 2019 respectively, were both outside council development limits and on greenfield sites.

Ms Searson ruled the need for affordable housing, highways improvements and new jobs outweighed that and the loss of farmland, upholding the developer’s appeals.

The inspector added there had been a “consistent shortfall” against targets of 1,400 homes a year since 2016 under the council’s Local Plan.

The Lib Dems claimed further legal action could cost the taxpayer £200,000, which could include having to pick up the Planning Inspectorate’s costs if the council loses.

Even if successful it would mean another public inquiry, with an uncertain outcome.

However Wolds Weighton Ward councillor Coun Stathers said in June he had been assured by a senior officer that the council’s bill would be no more than £20,000.

The case before Mr Justice Dove is set to end on Wednesday.