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Success in the High Court

Malvern Hills District Council has successfully challenged a planning inspector's decision at the High Court.

The Council had challenged the decision dated 2 February 2015 of planning inspector Jane Miles, who had overturned the Council's decision to refuse planning permission for a development at Pensax Common in Stockton.

Malvern Hills had previously refused planning permission for the development, but when the applicant appealed the decision the planning inspector had ruled in favour of the applicant.

But on 11 June 2015, the High Court in Birmingham endorsed the Council's view.

Duncan Rudge, Development Control Manager at Malvern Hills, said: "We knew that the planning inspector had made an error in law by ruling in favour of the applicant and we're delighted that this has now been backed up by the High Court. We had to act fast; if the inspector's decision had been left unchallenged it could have affected our ability to resist similar inappropriate housing proposals in the countryside in the future."

He added: "It had been said by some that our decision to take court action was ‘absolutely ridiculous', but as well as agreeing that the inspector's decision was flawed and that there had been an error in law, the Secretary of State has agreed to pay the Council's full costs in bringing the action."

Gary Williams, Head of Planning and Housing at Malvern Hills, said: "Planning inspectors should understand and correctly apply relevant planning policies when considering appeals. If they make a serious error their decision should be challenged whatever the scale of the development involved."

As the planning inspector's decision has been quashed by the High Court, the original appeal against the refusal of planning permission will now be reconsidered by the Planning Inspectorate at a future date.

The High Court has yet to rule on the Council's challenge against an inspector's decision to grant planning permission for six dwellings at the Malvern Caravans site at Powick.