Legal claim lodged against SCDC

As you are aware SCDC “adopted” the Core Strategy (CS) on July 5th. The CS contains the policies for the Suffolk Coastal District by which all planning matters/applications are judged.

The CS includes the allocation of 2000 houses at the site specific location of BT Adastral Park. This allocation matches exactly the BT Planning Application to build 2000 dwellings on the site including 6 storey high blocks of flats and a hotel.

NANT has participated throughout the CS process. We provided representations and objections, and appeared and participated at the public examination of the CS. We have funded by donation Waldringfield Parish Council’s protective proceedings for judicial review in the High Court raising the SEA and Habitats Directive concerns. In order for the matters to be examined during the Examination in Public process by agreement of the parties, the Court stayed these proceedings which remain stayed.

These same SEA and Habitats Directive concerns were put by NANT to the Independent Inspector along with challenges to the housing numbers, the consultation process, the lack of visitor data etc etc. The Inspector appeared to take seriously the issues that we and the legal representatives put forward but we did not achieve in full the changes that we sought.

We have continued to take legal advice and it is the opinion of both the solicitor and the barrister that SCDC has still not complied with the SEA Regulations and Habitats Directives. These issues are of particular concern to us given the huge scale of the development and the proximity of the BT Adastral Park site to the Internationally recognised Deben Estuary SPA.

Based on this advice we have now lodged a claim in the High Court. This is not a decision that the NANT Steering group has taken lightly. It is one that is based on sound legal advice and much discussion. Unfortunately SCDC’s persistent and ongoing obdurate behaviour has left us with no choice.

The statement of facts and grounds runs to 36 pages but in summary, we are challenging the Council’s decision to adopt the Core Strategy on the grounds that

(1) it has failed to comply with the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive and Regulations

(2) it has failed to comply with the Habitats Directive and Regulations

(3) it has failed to properly engage in lawful consultation.

We are asking the court to order that part of the provisions of the Suffolk Coastal District Council Core Strategy be quashed. In particular, we seek the quashing of Strategic Policy SP2 – Housing Numbers and Distribution, SP19 Settlement Policy and SP20 Eastern Ipswich Plan Area to the extent that they relate to the strategic housing Allocation/ location for growth for 2,000 new homes east of the A12 to the south and east of Adastral Park (“the Adastral Allocation”).

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