High Court Victory For Woman Who Battled Council To Save Sussex Green Space

Specialist Planning Lawyers Secure Protection For Green Space

29.06.2016

Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth helped a woman to win a High Court battle to protect a green space from development.

The High Court in London quashed Mid Sussex District Council’s grant of planning permission to develop The Play Meadow, at Cuckfield, West Sussex.

Flis Irving, a resident of Cuckfield, campaigned to keep The Play Meadow open for use by local people, including the local nursery school.  The land is owned by Mid Sussex District Council, which rejected a community bid to secure its use by local people in favour of selling it to a developer. 

This is the second time in 16 months that planning permission for development on The Play Meadow has been overturned by the High Court. 

Mr Justice Gilbart, a leading planning judge, decided that the Council had granted planning permission unlawfully.  He found that the planning consent breached planning policy and he focussed on the harm to the Cuckfield Conservation Area, which the Council had identified before it went on to grant planning permission.

Flis Irving said: “It is the first time in almost three years that there has been full scrutiny of the Council's actions, by an independent, qualified expert, and he found that the Council had acted unlawfully.  It is significant that Mr Justice Gilbart highlighted the importance of preserving The Play Meadow as part of the Cuckfield Conservation Area for the benefit of local people. I hope that the Council will finally take note and stop fighting for a third-party to develop it."

Expert Opinion
“The Council has been trying too hard to grant permission so that it can sell The Play Meadow for what amounts to inappropriate development. It is now difficult for the Council to avoid the fact that a substantial building in a conservation area, blocking clear views over the South Downs, would substantially harm that conservation area. The Council should take stock, think hard about the environmental harm that such development would do, and act in the interests of the local community by dedicating The Play Meadow for public use as open space.”
James Pavey, Partner