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High Court quashes permission for homes at Ramsgate school

Words: Huw Morris
Children in playground

A judicial review brought by a parent of a child at a special educational needs school in Ramsgate has led to the High Court ordering Thanet District Council to quash planning permission for homes overlooking the school playground.

The development by Kentish Projects comprised 23 houses,15 flats and parking for 59 cars. A total of 32 objections were made by parents and the head teacher of Laleham Gap school to the application which was approved by officers.

Mr Tim Corner QC – sitting as a deputy High Court judge – allowed the claim on all six grounds in the parent’s claim and quashed the permission.

The judge considered the circumstances of the contract, which was for an application inclusive of land owned by Thanet and Kent County Council, the fact that it did not go to planning committee, the lack of explanation for why it had initially been scheduled for committee and then withdrawn, and other grounds including assessments of air quality, noise and compliance with the Habitat Regulations.

He decided that “a fair-minded observer would have thought there was a real possibility the decision-maker was biased”. The council’s interest in the site meant it was “under an enhanced duty to engage with objections thoroughly, conscientiously and fairly”.

Quashing the permission, the judge also granted a pro bono costs order in the claimant’s favour for £35,000.

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