Broughton Astley Neighbourhood Plan a victory for democracy

Councillor Mark Graves, Christine Lord, Alan Rowe, Debbie Barber parish manager and councillor Richard Tomlin celebrate the good news in Broughton Astley
Councillor Mark Graves, Christine Lord, Alan Rowe, Debbie Barber parish manager and councillor Richard Tomlin celebrate the good news in Broughton Astley

A village’s Neighbourhood Plan has trumped a scheme for 111 new homes in a landmark decision being hailed as an important victory for local democracy.

Broughton Astley’s Neighbourhood Plan was one of the first in the country to be approved under the Localism Act. It was passed after a village referendum in 2014.

The plan gives communities direct power to set out how they want their local area to develop in the future.

One of the advantages is that villagers can choose where they want new homes to be built.

But the Broughton Astley plan was tested by developer Ivan Crane, who wanted to build 111 homes, a sports hall, a neighbourhood centre and sports pitches, with landscaping, on a 14-hectare site off Crowfoot Way in Broughton Astley. The site he chose was not one that was earmarked for development in village’s Neighbourhood Plan.

And his application has now been rejected by a Government planning inspector, primarily on the basis that it conflicted with the Neighbourhood Plan.

In a decision later approved by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the inspector ruled that the proposal would have a “moderately harmful effect” on the area’s character, and highlighted the conflict with the village’s plan.

In finally dismissing Mr Crane’s appeal, against the Secretary of State’s decision on Monday, the High Court’s Mr Justice Lindblom said on Monday the Neighbourhood Plan was rightly treated as a powerful and decisive factor.

Broughton Astley Parish Council parish manager Debbie Barber said: “The parish council is delighted with the judgment issued by Mr Justice Lindblom.

“The judgment confirms that the proposal to develop the site was in direct conflict with the Neighbourhood Plan for Broughton Astley.

“We believe that the outcome of this High Court appeal will now give many other parishes around the country the confidence to pursue their plans with the communities they represent.”