Prolog to press on with £50m development in Sudbury despite Judge’s decision
A logistics firm has renewed its commitment to provide up to 500 new jobs at a proposed £50million development in west Suffolk – despite approval for its plans being overturned by a High Court judge.
Last February after a three-year battle, Prolog gained permission to build two huge warehouses in Church Field Road on the outskirts of Sudbury.
But in October, objectors including Lord and Lady Hart of Grade II listed Chilton Hall, launched a challenge against the scheme in the High Court via a judicial review.
Nine of the ten grounds for the dispute were dismissed, but Justice Philip Sales directed Babergh District Council to contact Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, to ask whether he would have intervened had the application been referred to him.
However, Mr Pickles declined to comment, leaving Mr Justice Sales with no option but to quash the planning decision this week.
Prolog, which has operated in Sudbury for more than 20 years and already employs around 400 people at its current premises, will now have to go back to the drawing board.
Last night, Babergh officers said they were considering their next move while Prolog director Peter Tyrer confirmed the company had no intention of abandoning the scheme.
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He said: “The decision was overturned because the judge felt the Secretary of State should have been given an opportunity to give his opinion on the application.
“If Babergh puts the application to the planning authority again and refers it at the appropriate time to the Secretary of State, we are hopeful that the right decision will be made.
“We are still committed to the project and are determined to see it through. The next step rests with Babergh.”
Jennie Jenkins, leader of Babergh District Council, said: “This has been a long-running planning case involving much-needed employment opportunities for the area.
“The decision by the Judge, which dismissed nine out of ten grounds, confirms the council’s decision to grant planning permission on impacts and merit was well founded.
“We will now consider our next steps including returning the application to planning committee when appropriate.”
Meanwhile Lady Hart said objectors still believed the site was unsuitable for a huge warehousing and distribution centre operating 24/7 with lorry traffic.
She added: “I hope now that the Secretary of State will call the application in for decision so that the many objectors’ views can be fully heard at a planning enquiry.
“This is the only way that matters can be tested by an independent inspector.
“Before that happens though as the facts surrounding this application have changed, the council needs to ensure that the application is based on accurate and up to date information.”