London High Court battle between CEO of housebuilder Weston Homes & Housing Minister set to take place in 2021
Weston Homes and Columbia Threadneedle have now applied to the High Court asking for a Statutory Review under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 with the aim of getting Secretary of State Robert Jenrick’s refusal of Norwich’s £271 million Anglia Square redevelopment overturned in the Royal Courts of Justice.
If permission to proceed is granted by the Court the case will be considered at a full hearing, which is likely to take place in the spring or summer of 2021. In refusing permission, largely on heritage grounds, it is Weston Homes’ and Columbia Threadneedle’s assertion that the Secretary of State acted unlawfully.
In 2018 the Planning Committee of Norwich City Council voted in favour of the proposed scheme and resolved to grant planning permission. The proposals were then however called in by the Secretary of State so that he could decide whether or not planning permission should be granted. A public inquiry was held to consider the proposals in detail before a Planning Inspector, who recommended to the Secretary of State that planning permission should be granted.
However despite both Norwich City Council and his own Inspector being in favour of the proposals Robert Jenrick decided to refuse permission. The High Court will now review his decision.
The Anglia Square redevelopment project would represent a massive investment in Norwich City Centre, providing up to 1,250 new homes, including a 20-storey tower, hotel, cinema, new shops, enhanced public realm and car park,
The initial proposals were amended to lower the height of the proposed tower, with more amenities added and the public realm enhanced throughout, along with a major upgrade to a section of the City’s cycle network.
Bob Weston, Chairman & Chief Executive of Weston Homes, says: “Having taken legal advice at the highest level Weston Homes and Columbia Threadneedle have decided that we should take High Court action and seek to get Robert Jenrick’s decision overturned. At a time of extreme economic hardship and with Norwich on the edge of a deep recession the Secretary of State chose to refuse a massive investment opportunity for the city. His decision flies-in-the-face of Government policy on housing delivery and encouraging brownfield-land regeneration in order to protect the greenbelt.”
Bob Weston adds that: “Alan Waters, the Leader of Norwich City Council, has gone on record and said that Robert Jenrick has overturned local democracy and an extensive public inquiry. The decision also seriously jeopardises the £15 million of government Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) money already allocated to accelerate the development of the site. The government is not being co-ordinated, just as one body offers one of the highest levels of HIF funding in the country, the Secretary of State turns the scheme being offered funding away.”