MAJOR CLIMB DOWN BY GLADMAN WILL BENEFIT NOT JUST WINSLOW BUT OTHER COMMUNITIES DEVELOPING OR CONSIDERING A NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

MAJOR CLIMB DOWN BY GLADMAN WILL BENEFIT NOT JUST WINSLOW BUT OTHER COMMUNITIES DEVELOPING OR CONSIDERING A NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

On Friday 17th April, Winslow Town Council was informed that Gladman Developments Ltd (GDL) had formally notified the Court of Appeal of their intention to have its appeal against the High Court’s decision in December 2014, which found the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan to be legal, be dismissed with costs. This is particularly surprising as it was only in February that the Rt Hon Lord Justice Sullivan granted GDL leave to appeal.

This about face comes hot on the heels of GDL abandoning earlier in April its challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to dismiss GDL’s appeal against Aylesbury Vale District Council’s decision to refuse planning permission to build up to 211 homes on the outskirts of Winslow, at Glebe Farm, Verney Road.  It is possible that this major change of heart may have been instigated by pressure from other developers for getting them all a bad name and/or that GDL has recognised that positively prepared Neighbourhood Development Plans will withstand legal challenges. Whatever the reason, the residents of Winslow and the Town Council are extremely pleased and relieved at this turn of events. As these decisions see an end to Gladman’s series of legal challenges relating to our community’s Neighbourhood Plan, at least for the time being, this will allow us to proceed, unhindered by legal uncertainties, with progressing the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan to fruition.

As Councillor Llew Monger, who chaired the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group observed, “This decision by Gladman Developments Limited has national significance, as the legal standing of Neighbourhood Development Plans, as determined by the courts, is currently set by the judgement of the legality of the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan (WNP) of Mr Justice Lewis in the High Court in December 2014. He dismissed the Judicial Review challenge on all six grounds, making this the legal precedent against which a number of aspects of Neighbourhood Development Plans will be judged. This is hopefully the dawn of more localism and much less legalism in relation to Neighbourhood Planning, which will encourage many other communities to embark on developing a Neighbourhood Plan.”

One should not lose sight of the monetary cost to our Local Planning Authority (Aylesbury Vale District Council) and hence the council tax payers of Aylesbury Vale, in legally defending Winslow’s Neighbourhood Plan at appeals, GDL’s injunction to try to prevent the referendum on the WNP proceeding, which would have prevented Winslow residents from their democratic right to vote and the Judicial Review. Our community owes AVDC a considerable debt of gratitude for their robust support and the excellence of their appointed planning barrister, Hereward Philpot QC.

The Winslow Neighbourhood Plan was the first in Buckinghamshire and the 25th in the country to be completed. Being at the vanguard of this Localism Act 2011 initiative of giving communities the right to decide how they should develop, it was perhaps inevitable that some Plans would be legally challenged and, with GDL’s ‘interests’ around Winslow, with hindsight, the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan was bound to be given a hard time. Fewer than 50 Neighbourhood Plans have been completed to date but there are about 1,400 others at various stages of development. The news from Winslow will undoubtedly give them all additional impetus to reach the finishing line

The importance of this capitulation by Gladman Developments Ltd has been shown by the article below In The Times on Tuesday 21st April and a piece on the early evening edition of BBC’s South Today news programme, also on 21st April.

A recent review of the GDL website noted that their previously aggressive stance, reflected in statements such as Gladman Developments is “A formidable, skilled and highly professional Land Promoter, obsessed with winning consents . . .  and thatWe obtain residential planning consents on edge of town greenfield sites and use our expertise and financial resources to proactively promote the sites and secure planning permission.” which were on their website, are now noticeable by their absence. Are we seeing a parallel with Ryan Air and a GDL ‘conversion’ to wanting to be liked?

Copyright © Winslow Town Council - site by SHARED creative