Suffolk Coastal to defend Yoxford homes rejection in High Court

Yoxford planning decision to be contested in the High Court. Aerial photograph of Yoxford by Mike Pa

Yoxford planning decision to be contested in the High Court. Aerial photograph of Yoxford by Mike Page. - Credit: Mike Page

A district council will appear in the High Court to defend its refusal to allow 26 new homes to be built in a Suffolk village.

The announcement follows a legal challenge by Hopkins Homes against a planning inspector’s decision to uphold Suffolk Coastal’s rejection of the bid in Yoxford.

Chief planning officer Philip Ridley said: “Normally in this kind of case, the secretary of state will defend his inspector’s decision in the High Court with the council observing.

“However, the council has now been told that the secretary of state has decided not to defend the legal challenge.”

Geoff Holdcroft, cabinet member for planning, said: “This decision by the secretary of state meant that Suffolk Coastal had to decide whether to agree to the inspector’s decision being quashed by the High Court without a hearing – which would result in a re-run of the planning inquiry – or continue to defend the case itself.

“Our own legal advice indicates that the inspector’s decision is entirely defensible so we have decided to defend the case.”

Mr Holdcroft said the decision to fight its case in the High Court had not been taken lightly, and that the council would vigorously defend its position – that development would have “significant adverse impacts”.

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Planning inspector Tim Wood delivered his verdict in July, concluding that the application posed “unacceptable effects that were not outweighed by any benefits”.

But Hopkins Homes said the judgement was “inconsistent” with other decisions and called for it to be overturned.

The proposals had been met with local opposition from campaigners who raised fears about its impact on the village cricket club, the loss of historic parkland and the character of the housing proposed.

The High Court hearing will take place on January 20 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.