Pickles backs council in fight over huge home

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The decision on a Barton-le-Clay home, which grew more than 150 per cent more than approved plans, is to be looked at again.

Central Beds Council had called for the extended extension to be demolished but a Planning Inspector granted planning permission in May this year.

Environment Secretary Eric Pickles has now said he will not contest the council’s legal challenge to that decison.

The move means the council can continue its opposition to the extension.

In a statement it said: “The Secretary of State has conceded that the Inspector was insufficiently clear in his reasoning as to why the extensions and alterations, which increased the floor space by 200 per cent, did not represent disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building.

“He believes the Inspector was mistaken in his approach as to why this was not inappropriate development in the green belt.

“The case will now be passed back for reconsideration by the Planning Inspectorate.”

Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration says: “The council fundamentally disagreed with the Planning Inspector’s decision which totally disregarded the concerns of local residents and was completely at odds with our concerns to protect the environment and to defend our countryside from inappropriate development. We felt so strongly about this nonsensical judgement that we were prepared to take this issue to the High Court.”

A High Court Judge is expected to issue a Consent Order nullifying the Planning Inspector’s decision.

Councillor Young adds: “Having successfully challenged the Planning Inspector’s decision, I’m determined to get a positive resolution to this disproportionate and unacceptable development.

“We will be pressing for the planning appeal for this site to be held in public so that the people of Barton-le-Clay will have an opportunity to put their views to the Planning Inspector – fully supported by this council.”

Jason Longhurst, Director of Regeneration and Business at Central Bedfordshire council says: “We will actively challenge any development which threatens the character of our area.

“If allowed to stand, this decision threatened to set a dangerous precedent for other developments within the greenbelt.”