Stepaside residents win High Court permission for legal challenge to planning decision

By Paul Evans   |   Content editor   |
Monday 28th June 2021 10:00 am
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Alec Cormack secretary of Stepaside and Pleasant Valley Residents Group whose campaign has been titled ‘Keep Pleasant Valley Pleasant’ ()

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Stepaside and Pleasant Valley Residents Group (SPVRG) have won a High Court approval to challenge planning permission granted by Pembrokeshire County Council at the Heritage Park, Pleasant Valley, Stepaside.

On March 3, 1987 planning permission was granted at the Heritage Park site, but in order to overcome local residents’ opposition to over-development of the site, it restricted caravans to the south of the site.

It changed the use of the north to car parking only, extinguishing all rights for tents and caravans. A separate legal agreement was also signed, confirming this change and binding all future owners of the site to comply.

Alec Cormack (pictured) secretary of SPVRG whose campaign has been titled ‘Keep Pleasant Valley Pleasant’ explained: “Unfortunately, PCC mislaid all these records from 1987 and so in 2016 they wrongly granted permission for 29 caravans in the north of the site.

“Since January this year SPVRG has made repeated requests to PCC regarding the planning permissions relating to the Stepaside Industrial Heritage Project from the 1980s. Finally, PCC found the mislaid 1987 details on May 11, 2021.

“However, two weeks later, on May 27, PCC proceeded to grant permission for even larger caravans in the north of the site without considering either of the rediscovered 1987 planning permission or legal agreement.”

Last week, on June 22 the High Court in Cardiff, overruling PCC’s objections, granted permission for SPVRG to challenge the 2021 permission for failing to take account of the 1987 events and for six other reasons.

SPVRG had also asked the Court to consider quashing the 2016 decision at last week’s hearing, but the judge refused because it was 5 years since the decision was made.

“We are delighted that after hearing our evidence, the Court reversed its earlier decision and allowed our case to proceed to a full hearing,” continued Mr. Cormack.

“SPVRG confidently expects the final hearing, probably in October, will quash the 2021 permission and also establish that the 1987 agreement forbids all caravans in the north, including those wrongly granted permission in 2016,” he added.

A spokesperson for Pembrokeshire County Council remarked: “In May the Court refused permission on the papers for SPVRG Limited to judicially review the Heritage Park planning permissions granted in 2016, 2020 and 2021.

“Their application was renewed by way of an oral hearing and the matter was heard by Lady Justice Steyn in Cardiff last week.

“Lady Justice Steyn refused permission for the Claimant to judicially review the 2016 and 2020 decisions but has given permission for the judicial review to proceed on a number of grounds in respect of the 2021 permission which related to the variation of conditions attached to the planning permission.

“The matter is expected to be heard in October or November.”

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