Last week the appeal inspector allowed the planning application to build nine houses on the site of the farmyard and stables at Hayes Street Farm. The application had been refused by the council last year after a campaign by local residents backed by the Hayes Village Association and your local councillors, but following a public inquiry – held at our suggestion – the inspector allowed the plans, noting that the site has been previously developed and that it he felt it was not detrimental to either the conservation areas or the openness of the Green Belt.
We know that many (though certainly not all) residents will be disappointed in the outcome, but there is little scope for the council to appeal this decision. The only available route would be a judicial review which can only be brought if the inspector has erred in law or the process was materially flawed. From our discussion so far with council officers, there appear to be no such grounds.
During the hearing the applicants had, wrongly, suggested that the Council had misled the inspector over Housing Land Supply – a point which the inspector later ruled was irrelevant. However, he still ultimately found in their favour.
We will now be watching closely should the applicants attempt to modify their plans, as well as being vigilant for any further deterioration of the remaining open farmland.