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Police chief sees legal challenge to new 4,000-home district rejected

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Police chief sees legal challenge to new 4,000-home district rejected

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government

Police chief sees legal challenge to new 4,000-home district rejected Police chief sees legal challenge to new 4,000-home district rejected

A High Court judge has overruled the objections of a police commissioner who personally opposed the development of thousands of new homes over crime fears.

Leicestershire police and crime commissioner Sir Clive Loader took Blaby District Council to a judicial review after it granted permission for 4,250 new homes between the M1, Leicester Forest East and Enderby at Lubbesthorpe.

The Tory police chief was concerned that most of the new homes would be built before the force would get any extra funding to police the area.

Sir Clive argued an agreement to stagger developer payments of £1.6 million towards the policing of the area was “illogical and irrational”, while the planning process followed by the council was defective.

But the legal challenge was kicked out, much to the delight of the council.

Councillor Ernie White, leader of Blaby District Council: “We are delighted that the judge Mr Justice Foskett made a very clear decision when he found in favour of Blaby District Council after hearing the judicial review submitted by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Leicestershire seeking to quash the planning permission for the new community of Lubbesthorpe.

“Lubbesthorpe will deliver over £159 million of much needed infrastructure including 4,250 new homes of which at least 25% will be affordable homes, 1,530 new jobs, extensive (205 hectares) public open space, three new schools, transport infrastructure and improvements, community facilities and over £1.6m to Leicestershire Police to pay for vehicles, communication equipment and premises.

“Blaby District Council is saddened that the PCC chose to take this action. It has cost the local taxpayer a lot of money, delayed the delivery of much needed homes and jobs and wasted everyone's time and energy.

“Despite the recent legal action taken by the PCC the Council has continued to enjoy excellent working arrangements with the operational teams at Leicestershire Police.

“We now look forward to seeing things start moving as Lubbesthorpe delivers the jobs, homes and opportunities that local people need.”

Sir Clive said some of the judge's comments backed his position raising concerns about the timing of developer contributions.

He said: “I respect Mr Justice Foskett’s opinion concerning our legal position in this matter. Unfortunately, the fact remains that the schedule of payments towards policing the Lubbesthorpe development amounts to nothing less than a reckless disregard for community safety across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”

The planning application for the new Lubbesthorpe district was originally submitted in February 2011 and comprised:

Outline application for 4,250 dwellings, a mixed use district centre and two mixed use local centres featuring a supermarket, retail, commercial, employment, leisure, health, community and residential uses, non-residential institutions including a secondary school, primary schools and nurseries, an employment site of 21 hectares, open spaces, woodlands, new access points and associated facilities and infrastructure, and detailed proposals for two new road bridges over the M1 motorway and M69 motorway.

In November 2012 the council’s development control committee resolved to grant outline planning permission subject to concluding a Section 106 Agreement to secure the provision of infrastructure including affordable housing, a health centre, schools, highway improvements and a contribution towards policing.

The Secretary of State for the Environment had to be notified of the council’s resolution and in March 2013 the council was told that the Secretary of State did not want to make his own decision on the application and the Council could proceed to issue a decision when able to do so.

Then followed a period of extensive negotiation with a range of partners and the developers to secure contributions in an agreement that met as far as possible the range of requests the council had received. The negotiations were concluded early in December 2013 and then all the parties to the agreement proceeded to sign it.

The council, the final signatory, signed the agreement on 13 January 2014 and issued the outline planning permission on 14 January 2014. Without any forewarning on 20 March the Police and Crime Commissioner launched a legal action in the High Court seeking to quash the council’s grant of outline planning permission.

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