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Campaigners get appeal judge to reinstate ground of challenge in housing battle

A campaign group objecting to plans to build 176 houses in a village in West Yorkshire has persuaded the Court of Appeal to reinstate all its proposed grounds for challenge.

Bradford Council granted Barratt Homes planning permission in August 2014 for the scheme at Derry Hill in Menston, subject to certain conditions.

It is this decision – and a finding that Barratt’s scheme was compliant with a drainage condition – that the Menston Action Group (MAG) is seeking to challenge.

Law firm Schofield Sweeney brought judicial review proceedings on MAG’s behalf in September 2014.

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After a hearing in January, the Administrative Court in Leeds gave permission to proceed with the claim on MAG’s second ground. This sought to challenge the validity of the procedure adopted by Bradford Council when making its decision.

However, the Administrative Court refused permission on what MAG considered to be its primary ground. This is based upon the issue of whether the condition and sustainable drainage principles required Barratt to put forward a drainage scheme that addressed potential improvement of flooding issues around the Derry Hill site, including a nearby electricity substation that is prone to flooding.

MAG has now succeeded in persuading the Court of Appeal (Sullivan LJ) to reverse the Administrative Court’s refusal on this ground.

Schofield Sweeney partner Alistair Kennedy said: “This is a fantastic result for MAG and the residents of Menston, who are desperately worried that the proposed development at Derry Hill will make flooding in Menston much worse. MAG also have very serious concerns about ongoing flooding of the electricity substation adjacent to the Derry Hill site and have raised health and safety concerns.

“For the Court of Appeal to acknowledge the wider importance of this challenge and give MAG the opportunity to bring all of their concerns before a full hearing of the Administrative Court is very encouraging. Bradford Council and Barratt Homes are working hard to prop up the Council’s decision and defeat MAG’s claim, but this is the second recent success for MAG and we believe that the writing is on the wall.”

Local residents have raised more than £100,000 – “a necessity in what has become complex and high profile High Court litigation”, Schofield Sweeney said.

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