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Judge gives permission for legal challenge over Cherwell local plan partial review

Cherwell District Council faces a judicial review of its local plan partial review after Mrs Justice Lang gave permission to local campaign group Cherwell Development Watch Alliance (CDWA).

The dispute centres on a provision in the plan for 4,400 houses on Green Belt land intended to help meet Oxford City Council’s housing need. 

Landmark Chambers, from which five barristers are appearing in the case, said CDWA had challenged the plan on an alleged failure to take into account a significant drop in Oxford’s underlying housing need when considering the ‘exceptional circumstances’ test for Green Belt release. Another ground concerns the loss of a golf course to housing.

Mrs Justice Lang found CDWA presented arguable grounds which required a substantive hearing. 

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CWDA said the housing envisaged in the local plan would mean that Oxford’s “urban sprawl now threatens to engulf the rural setting of this part of Oxfordshire”, with the loss also of the 113-year-old North Oxford Golf Club and felling of thousands of mature trees.

Its chair Suzanne McIvor said: “This was the first, crucial test of our fundamental claim that the adoption of its plan by Cherwell is unlawful, and that it should therefore be entirely quashed or sent back for complete review.”

Cherwell has been contacted for comment.

Mark Smulian

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