High Court to decide fate of luxury spa’s plans to build 200 homes

Plans for a 200-home development on the Lifehouse Spa's land will be heard at the High Court Picture

Plans for a 200-home development on the Lifehouse Spa's land will be heard at the High Court Picture: DAN WELLDON PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

Plans for a 200-home development at a luxury spa will be heard at the High Court after the developers appealed against the planning inspector’s refusal.

Proposals for a development of up to 200 residential units, a four-acre park and further infrastructure at the Lifehouse Spa and Hotel site in Frinton Road, Thorpe-le-Soken, were first proposed back in March 2017.

The plan were refused by Tendring District Council in January 2018, but the decision was appealed by Lifehouse and went to a planning inspector.

Following a public inquiry earlier this year the inspector backed the council's original refusal.

Now, Lifehouse has asked for a judicial review of the inspector's decision, and the High Court has agreed to hold a full hearing into the case.

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John White, chairman of the council's planning committee, said it would defend the case.

"Although disappointing that the applicants have not accepted the Planning Inspector's ruling, it is of course their right to challenge the legalities of that decision - and the High Court has seen enough merit in their points to consider the case," said Mr White.

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"We stand by our original decision to refuse the plans, and will defend that position at the judicial review."

Lifehouse Spa declined to comment.

Original outline plans had even grander aspirations for the development, which first suggested up to 92 supported care and independent properties, 50 luxury holiday homes, a health centre and 1,000 square metres of business units with a 20-space car park.

The finalised plan, made in October 2017, was met with strong resistance when put out to public consultation, with 98% of those responding objecting to the proposal.

However Collins & Coward, the agent for Lifehouse Spa, said authorities such as Essex County Council's Flood Agency, Anglian Water and Natural England had raised no objections to their plans.

The High Court judges, who will hear the appeal on December 3, cannot give planning permission, but can strike out the inspector's decision if they find an error in the law was made at the original appeal.

Another inquiry would then be held to consider the appeal.

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