Campaigners continue their fight against expansion of Raunds business park

Warth Park
Warth Park

A community action group is trying to raise up to £10,000 as they continue to fight the expansion of Warth Park in Raunds.

Councillors voted 11-6 in favour of plans to build two distribution buildings with warehousing and office space next to the current business park on the outskirts of the town in March.

People opposed to the expansion of Warth Park took part in a walk last December

People opposed to the expansion of Warth Park took part in a walk last December

But despite securing planning permission, those opposed to the plans are continuing to fight it and have launched a legal challenge against the decision.

A judicial review is the only option left for trying to quash the planning permission.

A claim was lodged with the High Court on June 19 asking for the planning approval granted to the developers of Warth Park by East Northants Council to be judicially reviewed and overturned.

The claim is based on two grounds - that the council unlawfully had regard to an immaterial consideration, namely the risk of an appeal, and officers materially misdirected members of the council’s planning committee in stating that no weight could be attached to Policy R6 of the emerging Raunds Neighbourhood Plan.

The claim has been lodged by Mary Howe who uses land which will be affected for her horses.

Richard Buxton, an environmental lawyer based in Cambridge, has taken the case on.

While the legal process gets started, fundraising is being led by the community action group which has been fighting the plans since they were first submitted to help cover the cost of a legal challenge.

They are hoping to raise between £6,000 and £10,000, and have already raised more than £1,700.

The group believes the expansion of Warth Park will result in a loss of countryside, noise, air pollution, HGV traffic congestion and light intrusion.

Now the claim has been lodged, the council and developers will be able to say why they think the claim is wrong and then the court will consider the case and merits of the competing arguments before deciding whether to give permission for the review.

If permission is granted by the court to proceed, a hearing date will be set to have the planning decision reviewed by a High Court judge.

A spokesman for East Northants Council said: “We’ve been informed that a judicial review has been submitted.

“We wouldn’t comment any further as we don’t want to prejudice the process.”

For more details about the fundraising page and the legal challenge, click here