Havering council say they will not appeal Dovers Corner decision

HAVERING Council has announced today that it will not be challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to allow the Weston Homes’ development on Dovers Corner in Rainham.

The decision was reached after lawyer’s advice that there were no grounds for a legal challenge to the main basis of the decision, that a development on this site of more than three storeys was acceptable.

There would have been a limited chance the Council could challenge one aspect of the decision on a small technicality - that the planning inspector misinterpreted the planning policy, which states that tall buildings of six or more storeys are only allowed outside Romford in exceptional circumstances.

However, even if the Council managed to get the decision overturned on this limited chance it would simply lead to another planning inquiry with another planning inspector who would have to take note of the first inspector’s conclusions. The Council had already paid �90,000 for the first inquiry and would have faced costs of around the same again for the second and could never recover the tens of thousands of pounds already spent.

In addition, the Council was advised that was highly likely that the new inspector would conclude that the reasons listed by the first inspector were ‘exceptional circumstances’, meaning the same result would be reached and planning permission would still be granted for the Weston Homes proposals.

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Councillor Michael White, Leader of Havering Council, said: “Along with the vast majority of local people we have always opposed this development which in our view represents a gross overdevelopment of the site.

“It also flies in the face of our LDF policies which say that developments in this area should generally be no more than three storeys high and should reflect the character of the nearby Rainham Conservation Area.

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“We were therefore dismayed and very disappointed to receive the Secretary of State’s decision to allow the developer’s appeal and grant planning permission. We immediately asked our lawyers to go through the decision very carefully to see if we could take any further action.

“They have advised that we only have a very limited chance of getting this decision quashed by the High Court and if we lost, we would be liable for not only our own legal costs but those of the Secretary of State as well. This could stretch to over �20,000.

“We need to weigh up the large financial risk that we face if we have to fight the public inquiry all over again without much real prospect of success. This is why, with great regret, we have decided that we cannot justify taking legal action.”

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