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Menston Action Group granted second Judicial Review

Menston Action Group (MAG) have achieved another significant success following a High Court decision to allow a second judicial review against Bradford Council to proceed to a full substantive hearing.

MAG’s first judicial review, in relation to Barratt Homes’ proposal to build 173 houses on a site at Derry Hill Menston, is listed for a 2 day hearing in Leeds on 15 and 16 July.

A further judicial review of Bradford Council’s decision to grant planning permission to Chartford Developments Limited to develop a site at Bingley Road Menston will also now proceed to a full hearing, expected to take place in late summer.

The site at Bingley Road was given planning permission on 2 April 2015 despite MAG raising significant concerns in relation to the suitability of the site, which has been observed to flood in times of prolonged rainfall. MAG sought permission to judicially review that decision and have been given permission to proceed on two grounds of challenge by The Honourable Mrs Justice Patterson DBE.

The first ground, which is similar to the claim in relation to Derry Hill, alleges that the Council improperly failed to consider the ability to alleviate existing flooding issues. The second ground alleges that the Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee was materially misdirected by Council officers when informed of the water storage proposals for the site.

MAG are currently considering whether to apply for a further hearing to seek permission to proceed with a third ground, relating to changes to conditions attached to the planning permission made by Council officers after planning permission had already been approved by the Regulatory and Appeals Committee.

Alistair Kennedy, Partner leading the team of litigators at Schofield Sweeney, stated:-

This is another significant step forward for MAG and shows that the issues in relation to planning decisions and drainage in Menston are not limited to the Derry Hill site. Residents have observed standing water on the Bingley Road site – referred to by them as “the lake” – following prolonged rainfall and they are extremely concerned that this site is being developed. MAG made representations to Bradford Council, but planning permission was granted regardless. The Council’s decision will now be reviewed at a hearing by a High Court Judge and MAG are very hopeful that the Council’s decision will be quashed. Schofield Sweeney continues to work with MAG to ensure that the interests of Menston residents are protected. MAG would prefer to deal with these issues constructively and without the need for Court proceedings, but the Council’s approach is leaving them with little choice.”

Schofield Sweeney’s Chairman, Chris Schofield, has been working with MAG from the beginning and has offered his time throughout free of charge. Menston residents held a referendum opposing the developments at Derry Hill and Bingley Road several years ago. 98% voted against the proposed developments and 2,000 letters of objection were submitted, despite this Bradford Council still approved the schemes. MAG has long argued that both sites suffer from problems with water emerging from the ground and that the proposed developments would increase flooding in the area. An independent expert on flooding, Dr Duncan Reed, has supported these claims.

Over £100,000 has already been raised by local residents. The funds are a necessity in what has become complex and high profile High Court litigation.