We are very pleased to pass on the news that we have just received. Today the decision of the Judicial Review into Swan Quay was announced, and Mr Justice Dove dismissed the case of the applicant.
The judgement enables Swale Borough Council to take the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan to referendum, with no housing on Swan Quay. If the people of Faversham vote to accept the referendum, Swale Borough Council will release their contribution of £200,000 towards the new Swing Bridge, and the Swing Bridge construction will be able to go ahead.
The full judgement is shown below.
“London’s High Court ruled today on the planning future of the historic Swan Quay at Faversham.
Mr Justice Dove, one of the country’s top judges, dismissed a challenge by developers to a planning inspector’s ruling which blocked residential development at the creek.
The inspector’s decision came after leading conservation group, Historic England and local campaigners argued that residential development would lead to “gentrification” of the area, be “harmful to the historic character of Faversham Creek” and hit small business owners locally.
Swan Quay LLP’s lawyers argued that the inspector was not entitled to take the stance he did in a bid to protect the area from “gentrification” through residential redevelopment.
The inspector had been called in to approve the development plan for the area. He approved it but sided with the conservationists and wrote in the ban on residential development.
The plan had been due to go to a public referendum in October, but the action taken by the land owners has thrown the referendum timetable into disarray.
Swan Quay had argued when the case was heard earlier this month that a neighbourhood development plan expressly banning residential development on the site was unlawful.
However, Mr Justice Dove ruled today that the inspector had explained his reasons for imposing the ban, and held that the inspector’s decision had been a clear exercise of “planning judgment”.
He refused Swan Quay’s request for the ban on residential development to be removed from the development plan before it goes to a local referendum.
The judge said that the inspector had “fully explained” his reasons, which included concerns about potential loss of employment land at Swan Quay and increased residential development being “harmful to the historic character of the Creek”.
He said that while the term “gentrification” was not an official planning use term, it did not need to be. The inspector could take into account its meaning as “erosion” of traditional uses by the introduction of “historically unprecedented and inconsistent use that would bring with it a different aesthetic which would harm the historic character”.