Judicial Review Update

Land North and South of Holt Road, Rossett

Following the advice (Counsels Opinion) of a Barrister in London Rossett Focus Group (RFG) decided that there was no merit in proceeding with a Judicial Review of the Ministers decision on the Planning Appeal for the above site.

Our Barrister examined all the issues surrounding the decision and advised that there were insufficient grounds to make a legal challenge and that if successful, which was unlikely, the matter would be referred straight back to the same Minister to make again the decision having corrected any procedural errors. The courts will only override a decision based on a failure to follow the law, they will not over turn a bad decision if the law or procedures have been followed.

We were advised that it was:

Important to remember that even if successful, the appeal will simply be remitted back to the Minister to redetermine – if you believe the Ministers are committed to pushing it through (for the sake of the LDP) then it is likely to be a pyrrhic victory.

In view of the substantial costs likely to arise from an unsuccessful challenge RFG would be seen to be throwing good money away. In our Barristers Opinion the case put forward by the Council was lightweight, the Inspectors Report was equally thin and that of the Minister was ever more so.

Counsel examined the question:
“was RFG’s evidence properly considered and advised?”

The Inspector dealt with it very briefly – a list of bullet points, compared with detailed discussion of Council and Developer’s cases.

However, lots of caselaw confirming that decision makers only need to deal with the main issues, they don’t have to address every point or rehearse all arguments made.

Clear that the material was before the Inspector, it is on PINS portal and bullet points do cover all issues raised, although cursory.

No realistic prospect of arguing that RFG’s evidence was

Going Forward

Our Counsel felt the best solution was to mount challenges at Reserved Matters stage bearing in mind the site has yet to be sold and the Minister has reduced the term to reach Reserved Matters from 3 years to 2 and there was strong evidence to suggest that the conditions imposed on  outline approval for 132 houses may not be able to be discharged by the SUDs Board.

Overall the advice was to continue to resist this development in every arena possible over the next 2 years even up to the time the last brick is laid, if that should happen. 

This we will endeavour so to do on behalf of all the villagers, so we may need some help from time to time. 

At present we have raised matters with the Association of British Insurers re this development and also seeking the guidance of the Equality Rights Commission (Wales) on footway issues. We are also making representations in a number of other areas and we will keep you informed on progress.