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Failed judicial review over controversial Hixon planning application bid to cost thousands

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: May 18, 2013

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RESIDENTS in Hixon have lost their bid for a judicial review into a controversial planning decision - leaving the parish council with a bill running into thousands. 


The village’s parish council, chaired by Brendan Mckeown, sought the review after Stafford Borough Council approved an application by Air and Ground Aviation in November in spite of 412 objections, 49 letters and a 27- name petition.

The company wants to build a storage and distribution centre for the world’s largest passenger airline the Airbus A380 and the A400M military aircraft.

Councillor McKeown said the borough council had issued contradictory evaluations of the viability of industrial development in Hixon a month apart.

The bid for a judicial review was rejected by the High Court earlier this month and the parish council has been ordered to pay costs for SBC and Air and Ground.

The borough council’s costs will be up to £3,000 and Mr McKeown said the parish council would be appealing the awarding of costs for the company.

In January the parish council said the public could be asked for contributions to a fighting fund but the parish council allocated £5,000 to the review which could cover their costs.

Announcing the news Stafford Borough Council’s planning manager Jon Holmes said: “Hixon Parish Council sought a judicial review.

"The decision was that the application was made and the decision was made by the High Court.

"The application for judicial review was dismissed and Hixon Parish Council has been ordered to pay both our costs and the third party costs in bringing the matter.

"That application will now proceed unless they want to take the matter further.”

Borough councillor Jean Tabernor spoke at the planning meeting when the application was considered.

She said: “If it had been me I would have accepted the decision because it was a fair hearing at the

planning committee. I spoke both ways and let the committee make their decision because I could see things for and against it. “

Councillor McKeown said: “If we can’t win a case with such obvious evidence there’s no chance for any of us in the future.

“David Cameron’s localism act is dead in the water before it’s even sailed out of port. It’s a complete travesty.”

A spokesman for SBC said: “We told the parish council we had followed the proper process in determining this application and there would be no grounds for a judicial review but obviously they did not accept this position.

"The court awarded costs to the borough council and these will have to be met by the parish council and not the general borough council tax payers.”

No-one from Air and Ground was available for comment at the time of going to press.

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