Landmark Planning Challenge by Mevagissey Parish Council

schoolhillMevagissey Parish Council have won a landmark planning challenge, protecting its spectacular coastal scenery from development on School Hill.

A developer wanted to construct ten, half million pound open market homes on the site to subsidise 21 affordable homes. The Parish Council took Cornwall Council and the developers to a Judicial Review in the Bristol Civil court on 21st November and won their case.

The cost of the case was part funded by local donation and part by the Cornwall AONB. Although the community was divided about the benefits of affordable houses planned for the site against the loss to the spectacular scenery, the judge decided that in granting planning permission, Cornwall Council gave insufficient weight to the AONB.

The planning permission was therefore quashed however the developer is still seeking permission for a similar scheme in December.  Meantime Mevagissey Parish Council has commenced building its second phase of affordable homes on Vicarage Hill, bringing the total to 25 over the past 2 years, which they believe will satisfy most of the identified priority local need.

The new development has been situated on a carefully selected site in cooperation with Cornwall Council’s planning officers and Ocean Housing. Although these homes will inevitably be more expensive than the ones that were proposed on School Hill, they will meet affordability criteria without despoiling the spectacular cliff top scenery of the AONB.

Chairman of Mevagissey Parish Council, Mike Roberts, told Roseland Online, “The judgement handed down in this case should stand as a landmark decision for all councils and communities who are battling to save some of our outstanding landscapes from being exploited by developers who are using affordable housing as a means of obtaining planning permission that would not normally be granted.”

1 Comment on Landmark Planning Challenge by Mevagissey Parish Council

  1. I found this summary of the Mevagissey V Cornwall Council case at Landmark Chambers.
    It sumarises the judgement in laymans language and is highly critical of the planners at Cornwall Council.
    We on the Roseland have been told time and time again its a mater of BALANCING the natural beauty of the Roseland AONB against the local need for enployment, housing development, business and farming.
    This High Court judgement makes it crystal clear that Cornwall Councils interpretation of the CrOW Act 2000 and the NPPF is wrong and development should not take place in an AONB except in:
    1) Exceptional circumstances and
    2) The development is in the Public interest.
    This is a great victory for all who value the Natural Beauty of the Roseland.
    I will be interested to hear Cllr Julian Germans observations on this judgement as Cornwall Councils Ex cabinet portfolio holder for the AONB.
    Hugh Wyndham-Smith

    •R (Mevagissey Parish Council) v Cornwall Council and Another
    DATE: 27 Nov 2013
    Mr Justice Hickinbottom today quashed a planning permission for 31 houses in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Cornwall. He held (at paragraph 51) that the proper interpretation of paragraphs 115 and 116 of the National Planning Policy Framework is that in determining an application for planning permission in an AONB, a Council is required “not simply to weigh all material considerations in a balance, but to refuse an application unless they are satisfied that (i) there are exceptional circumstances, and (ii) it is demonstrated that, despite giving great weight to conserving the landscape and scenic beauty in the AONB, the development is in the public interest”.
    Cornwall Council had failed to understand the policy requirements; failed to apply them; and failed to give an adequate summary of its reasons for granting planning permission. Is decision was accordingly quashed. The case also contains a helpful summary of the law regarding the exercise of discretion not to quash for breaches of EIA screening obligations.
    Alex Goodman acted for the Claimant Mevagissey Parish Council.
    Click here for the judgment.
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