High Court rejects challenge to grant of permission for flats and student accommodation in Bath

Student accommodation flats

In Standard Life Assurance Limited v Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities [2022] EWHC 2632 (Admin), Mr James Strachan KC (sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court) dismissed a claim under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 challenging the Secretary of State’s grant of outline planning permission to Oakhill Group Limited for the development of 104 flats and student accommodation on a site in Bath.

The claim was brought by the owner of an industrial estate adjoining the development site, who objected to a secondary access passing through the estate. The owner participated as a “Rule 6 Party” in the public inquiry held by Inspector Nick Fagan in February 2021, and challenged the Inspector’s grant of planning permission in March 2021 on three grounds, all of which related to the way in which the Inspector handled their objection. In a comprehensive judgment, the Judge rejected all three grounds of claim.

Two of the grounds were dismissed as being based on a misreading of the Inspector’s reasoning, and a failure to read the Inspector’s decision fairly and as a whole. The final ground was dismissed because it concerned a point which had not been properly pursued at the inquiry.

Sasha White KC and Matthew Fraser represented Oakhill Group Limited at the public inquiry and in the High Court. They were instructed by Mark Krassowski of Walsingham Planning at the inquiry, and Matthew Nixon of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in the High Court.

The decision is available here.

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