Robert Jenrick facing High Court action

Weston Homes has confirmed that it will challenge Robert Jenrick’s decision to deny planning permission for the £271m Anglia Square redevelopment in Norwich in the High Court.

Robert Jenrick

The housebuilder and Columbia Threadneedle have now applied to the High Court asking for a Statutory Review under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 with the aim of getting the secretary of state Robert Jenrick’s refusal of the Anglia Square redevelopment overturned in the Royal Courts of Justice.

If consent to proceed is granted by the court the case will be considered at a full hearing, which is likely to take place in the spring or summer of 2021. In refusing permission, largely on heritage grounds, it is Weston Homes’ and Columbia Threadneedle’s assertion that the Secretary of State acted unlawfully.

In 2018, the Planning Committee of Norwich City Council voted in favour of the proposed scheme and resolved to grant planning permission. The proposals were then however called in by Jenrick so that he could decide whether or not planning permission should be granted. A public inquiry was held to consider the proposals in detail before a Planning Inspector, who recommended to the secretary of state that planning permission should be granted.

But despite both Norwich City Council and his own Inspector being in favour of the proposals Jenrick decided to refuse permission. The High Court will now review his decision.

The Anglia Square redevelopment project would represent a major investment in Norwich City Centre, providing up to 1,250 new homes, including a 20-storey tower, hotel, cinema, new shops, enhanced public realm and car park,

The initial proposals were amended to lower the height of the proposed tower, with more amenities added and the public realm enhanced throughout, along with a major upgrade to a section of the City’s cycle network.

Bob Weston

Bob Weston, chairman and chief executive of Weston Homes, said: “Having taken legal advice at the highest level Weston Homes and Columbia Threadneedle have decided that we should take High Court action and seek to get Robert Jenrick’s decision overturned.

“At a time of extreme economic hardship and with Norwich on the edge of a deep recession the secretary of state chose to refuse a massive investment opportunity for the city. His decision flies-in-the-face of Government policy on housing delivery and encouraging brownfield-land regeneration in order to protect the greenbelt.”

Weston added: “Alan Waters, the leader of Norwich City Council, has gone on record and said that Robert Jenrick has overturned local democracy and an extensive public inquiry. The decision also seriously jeopardises the £15m  of government Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) money already allocated to accelerate the development of the site.

“The government is not being co-ordinated, just as one body offers one of the highest levels of HIF funding in the country, the secretary of state turns the scheme being offered funding away.”


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