Labour Claim Wroughton Development Planning Inquiry Could Cost £120K

The Swindon Labour Group have said they are opposed to a recent announcement that Swindon Council will be taking to Judicial Review the Berkeley Farm Planning Appeal decision, saying this would be a colossal waste of money.

A Judicial Review in 2013 by the Cotswold District Council, where a planning application for 250 homes in Tetbury was granted on appeal by the inspector for the “persistent under-delivery of homes”, cost the District Council £120K. This decision was eventually upheld at Judicial Review by the judge. Given the Berkeley Farm appeal was also granted by the planning inspector due to a “persistent under-delivery of homes” in Swindon, Labour feels a Judicial Review triggered by Swindon Council would suffer the same fate at a huge cost to the taxpayer.

The Swindon Labour Group Leader, Councillor Jim Grant, said:

“Taking this planning decision to Judicial Review would be the biggest waste of money in recent years by this Council. This planning application has already cost the Swindon taxpayer £35K by losing the appeal to the planning inspector and now they want to spend in the region of £120K on a Judicial Review.

Councillor Toby Elliott has done no research whatsoever on whether this Judicial Review would be successful. A cursory bit of research I have done shows that a similar planning application to Berkeley Farm, in Tetbury, was taken to Judicial Review and the planning permission was upheld because of a persistent under-delivery of homes built, the same reason the Berkeley Farm application was granted.

If the Conservative administration go-ahead with this Judicial Review at a cost of £120K, where there is no hope of success and yet are closing children children’s centres and expecting Swindon residents to afford a 4% increase in Council-tax, one can only conclude that there is only money available for pet political projects of this Conservative administration.”