[Update 1: 29/5/2018: We understand that the developers have stated they intend to appeal, but have not yet submitted the appeal documentation]
[Update 2: 6/6/2018: Story now confirmed by Fleet News and Mail. Copy here.]
[Update 2: 8/6/2018: Appeal documents published here.]
We understand that the agents for the developers have submitted a Pale Lane appeal. The site, also known as Elvetham Chase was, quite rightly in our view, turned down for development of 700 new houses by Hart Council back in February. The developers, Wates, were apparently quite angry.
The Pale Lane appeal comes despite the recent Hart Local Plan Regulation 19 consultation. Of course, the draft Local Plan doesn’t include Pale Lane in the housing plans. We understand that Hart plan to submit the Local Plan to the inspector on 18 June. The plan published as part of the consultation has some weight to fend off this unwelcome development. That weight should increase when the plan is submitted to the Inspector. But it won’t have the same weight as a plan declared sound by the Inspector.
We don’t yet know the timeline for the Local Plan inspection hearing. Nor do we know the timeline for the Pale Lane (Elvetham Chase) appeal.
Impact of Pale Lane Appeal
So, this move sets in train some complex legal and procedural manoeuvres and a race agaisnt time for both Hart and Wates. Clearly, Wates believe they can win or they wouldn’t be spending the money on the appeal. They are clearly hoping their appeal will be heard prior to the Local Plan being inspected and declared sound.
Despite opposing the development, we think the grounds for rejecting the proposed development were quite weak. The grounds for the decision can be found here. Unfortunately, Hart doesn’t have a good track record in defending appeals.
We have to hope that the current state of the Local Plan will provide stronger defence that the Council’s current outdated policies.