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Swale council to pay thousands after High Court planning appeal request denied over Barton Hill Drive homes in Minster

Swale council has been ordered to pay thousands in court costs after it lost a High Court challenge over housing plans.

The authority took the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government to court, along with Attwood and Partners to ask for a review of a decision which saw plans for up to 700 homes at Barton Hill Drive, Minster, Sheppey, approved by a planning inspector in March.

The site where planning permission for up to 700 homes at Barton Hill Drive, Minster, Sheppey
The site where planning permission for up to 700 homes at Barton Hill Drive, Minster, Sheppey

It will now have to pay £3,253 to the government and £3,000 to SW Attwood and Partners after it was refused permission for a judicial review over the inspector’s decision.

The developer requested £11,801.20 but that sum was cut by Mrs Justice Lang at court yesterday.

Explaining her reasoning behind her decision, she said: "It is unarguable that the Inspector failed to apply the Planning Practice Guidance on costs or made any other public law error.

"He had a broad discretion, and having presided over the inquiry, he was well placed to adjudicate between the competing submissions on costs presented by the parties before him."

She added the reasons given by the inspector, Martin Whitehead, were "adequate and intelligible" and each issue had be fairly considered in a "conscientious and careful" decision.

"He had a broad discretion, and having presided over the inquiry, he was well placed to adjudicate between the competing submissions."

Mr Whitehead had already ordered the council to pay separate costs to the firm for “unreasonable behaviour” in considering the application.

SW Attwood and Partners asked Swale to reimburse £171,000, the firm revealed this afternoon.

A Swale council spokesman said: "We are disappointed with the result from yesterday’s High Court ruling on the Barton Hill Drive appeal.

"We are discussing what possible steps we have available to us with our legal team, however it is too early to say what - if any - recourse we may take."

Stephen Attwood, who heads up SW Attwood and Partners, said: "We note the decision and await payment of the main cost claim."

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