Council set to take legal action against government over ‘wrong’ decision on homes

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PRESTON’S city council is preparing to launch legal action against the government over a planning application for 150 houses.

The council refused planning permission for 150 houses at Preston Road, Grimsargh, back in March 2015.

But developer Gladman Homes appealed against the refusal, and their appeal was granted by the Planning Inspector.

Now, in a highly unusual move, Preston City Council has applied to lodge a legal challenge against the secretary of State’s decision.

The council says it believes the Planning Inspector, acting for the Secretary of State, got their facts wrong and miscalculated Preston’s housing allowance.

Councillor Brian Rollo, Chair of the Council’s Planning Committee, said: “There were very good reasons for refusing planning permission at Preston Road, Grimsargh so we are disappointed that the Planning Inspectorate, acting for the Secretary of State, has allowed this development on appeal.

“The simple fact is we believe they’ve got it wrong and made an error in their calculations – especially about how many homes are being built over the next five years.

“There were strong local objections to the development and as the planning authority we shared those too.

“It’s basically building on open countryside, so if we don’t stand up and say somebody somewhere has made a mistake, then future planning controls in Preston could be affected.

“That’s why we’ve taken the unusual decision to seek the Court’s permission to challenge the Secretary of State.

“It’s important that we protect those areas that need protection against development, whilst also recognising the city needs to grow.

“We are confident we have got that balance right, certainly with the development at Preston Road, Grimsargh and look forward to making our case to the High Court.”