Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 31, 2016

ARG (2012) – Parrs Lane – Appeal Decision – Judicial Review.

As the “headless chicken” former leader of our council once told us…“This was the right step to protect Ormskirk’s environment. A balance needs to be struck but Option A went too far and Cabinet has made the right decision”. So just WHAT about the Burscough, the Halsall, and the Aughton environments? Well, it’s not an issue. Did YOUR borough councillors, people like Stephenson, Melling, Westley, O’Toole et al ever tell YOU your environment wasn’t equal to Ormskirk? No of course not.

So we still have floods parrsriver1 (2), sewage, desecration of land, and now the ultimate betrayal, the “sound” Local Plan now trashing local democracy. Aughton Residents Group 2012 is not remaining supine, far from it. They’ve written to the WLBC Director of Planning.

ARG (2012) – Parrs Lane – Appeal Decision – Judicial Review.

Dear Mr. Harrison

As Colin Atkinson of the Aughton Residents Group is currently unavailable he has asked me, as a long standing member of the Group, to raise further points with you in respect of the above. We accept that an appeal to the High Court would not seem appropriate in this case but we don’t believe that is the end of the matter.

As you say the Inspector’s report was finely balanced and its conclusions somewhat surprising “Disappointing “is the phrase used by the Council but “Outrageous” is one preferred by ARG (2012).

In particular the Inspector has effectively ignored the provision in the adopted Local Plan for a triage of Plan B sites to take place (Policy RS6) in the event of a slippage of new houses delivery and in doing so has removed from the Council important powers to control the Local Plan. This is a key element in the LP and therefore a major setback to the integrity of the Plan and it is not an exaggeration to believe that the developers have driven a coach and horses through the Plan after only four years into a fifteen year programme.

We believe that the Inspector’s decision must be challenged and we believe the mechanism for doing so lies in the Judicial Review process. Whereas an Appeal to the High Court would be costly and time consuming and possibly fail the J R option presents a real chance at sensible cost and in a timely manner for the Inspector’s decision to face full scrutiny.

We submit that there are at least three compelling arguments as to why this decision could successfully be challenged at a Judicial Review.

Firstly as above there is the important matter of the “Adopted and Sound” Local Plan being usurped and the democratic rights to oversee the Local Plan by WLBC being overruled. As you know the NPPF is a guidance document and not set in law and therefore the presumption in favour of mass uncontrolled building is not inevitable as some developers would have us believe.

Secondly the Inspector refers to the overall benefits outweighing the arguments against the appeal but doesn’t actually make specific statements to justify his conclusion .In particular he accepts Policy RS6 but overrules it without being specific as to the other considerations.

Thirdly we believe that in granting permission for 150 houses to Wainhomes to meet a small slippage in delivery is completely disproportionate.

Should he now go on to allow another 250 houses to Redrow then, we submit, the total bears no relation to the shortfall and his decision completely lacks Proportionality. This is an important and often a deciding factor when a Judicial Review takes place. ARG are not in a position to know exactly the agreed number of houses by which the Council is falling behind in its targets at the moment and so perhaps you could let us have these figures .I think we can all agree that the slippage is nowhere near 400!!

It should be pointed out that there is a time limit of six weeks from the disputed decision after which an application for a Judicial Review is likely to fail.

I await your comments.


Ian Forbes, On behalf of ARG (2012).


  1. Good luck to Mr Forbes and ARG (2012).

    When dealing with WLBC just remember one thing- “They don’t like it up ’em!”

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