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Resident to legally challenge Powys Council planners

Created on 12/01/2021 @ 10:31


A Montgomery resident is taking Powys County Council to court over a planning decision that was taken under delegated powers during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Bruce Lawson, who has lived in the town for 20 years, believes the Reserved Matters planning application for a large oak timber framed house to be built on Hendomen Lane, Montgomery, is flawed and has instructed a legal team to file for a judicial review.

Mr Lawson said that, according to Powys County Council’s Planning Department, 29 objections to the proposals were made from local residents.

His main concerns are that the lane, Access Only since 2000 but with a 60 mph speed limit, is an established ‘rat run’ and just nine feet wide in places and situated in the Vale of Montgomery - a listed National Historic Landscape of Wales.

He said the proposed site is clearly visible from Montgomery Castle and is just 86 metres from the 1070 Hendomen Castle (pictured) and Pre-Conquest Fields. 

He decided to challenge the decision made on December 8 under delegated powers via judicial review and has set the wheels in motion, within the statutory time limit.

“Outline permission was given without any local inhabitants at the settlement being properly advised,” he told us.

“The area’s County Councillor made strong objections on the basis of local needs and highways issues, but his objections were mislaid by the Planning Department for three months and only brought to the Planning Committee’s attention by him, three days before they granted Outline (permission).

“The proposed house is out of keeping with others in the settlement and is, manifestly, not local needs.”

Powys County Council suspended the councillor call-in process from March 19-July 2. Mr Lawson claims that his county councillor in Montgomery was advised therefore, in error, that he could make no call-in on the application, on July 20. Call-In would mean the full Planning Committee would have to consider the matter.

“Extended time was given to local residents to make comments up till August 21, but when our Councillor objected on August 14 it was deemed out of time by the planning officer concerned. This by just two days during the Covid crisis,” said Mr Lawson.

“The Outline application clearly stated, it was outside the Powys Development Plan: the delegated decision states the site being at postcode SY15 6EX, which is on the B4388, whereas the development site is at SY15 6EZ – on the other side of the farm, just outside the Hendomen settlement.”

Powys’s planning process during the pandemic has already been called into question by Guilsfield Community Council who are unhappy that permission was given for nine houses on a former garage site in the heart of the village. This happened despite claims that they were assured it would be held off until a public consultation could be held post-pandemic.

“There are too many questions regarding this and other decisions within the county,” said Mr Lawson.

“Local inhabitants have been effectively gagged, which cannot go unchallenged. Our only Objector at Outline, our councillor, was misadvised this year, at Reserved Matters stage. I was not advised either at Outline, or at the later Reserved Matters stage. Powys County Council admit having sent the appropriate Owner/Occupier notice to a similar address to mine, 300 metres away – a further material error.”

A spokesperson for Powys County Council said: “Outline planning permission establishing the principle of a dwelling at Pwll Farm, Hendomen, Montgomery was granted by the council’s planning committee in February 2018.

“A reserved matter application for the erection of a dwelling at this site, which relates to the approval of the outline planning permission that was granted in February 2018, relating to the outline planning permission for the erection of a dwelling at this site was approved last month.”

The process is expected to take several weeks.


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