Legal Challenge Update

Just to keep you up-to-date the following extracts were copied from the Greater Norwich Development Partnerships' website today:

Friday, 08 July 2011

On 5 July Richard Buxton, the Solicitor acting on behalf of the claimant, Stephen Heard, lodged a claim bundle at the administrative court, including an amended claim form.  The three claims are summarised below:
Claims 1 and 2 are unchanged:
  • Claim 1:  The adequacy of the Sustainability Appraisal in meeting European and National legal requirements, particularly in relation to the choice of the spatial locations for the growth and to potential alternatives to policies in the JCS.
  • Claim 2:  The major road link to Norwich needed to service the growth in the Broadland area at the heart of the Broadland part of the JCS was not assessed at all as part of the process.
Claim 3 has been deleted.  There is a new claim three:  The Inspectors failed to consider whether the JCS was in general conformity with the Regional Strategy.
The defendants, Broadland District Council, Norwich City Council and South Norfolk Council have 21 days to submit their response.

Monday, 04 July 2011
In response to the legal challenge made by Stephen Heard, the chairman of Stop Norwich Urbanisation, Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk Councils have appointed Norfolk Public Law, William Upton (the barrister who represented the GNDP during the Examination in Public) and Sharpe Pritchard. On 13th June 2011, to progress the matter as swiftly as possible, Norfolk Public Law applied for a Directions Hearing on behalf of Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk Councils. However, prior to the date of the Directions Hearing both parties have agreed to a Consent Order outside of court.
In the Order by Consent it states:
In the event that costs are payable by either party following the determination of this claim to the High Court:
• the costs recoverable by the Defendants against the Claimant shall be limited to £5,000
• the costs recoverable by the Claimant against the Defendants shall be limited to £30,000
The Claimant should now serve and file evidence in support of his Claim on or before 4pm on 6 July 2011, if not, the Claim will be struck out. The GNDP must then serve evidence within 21 days of the date that the Claimant’s evidence is served (on or before 4pm on 27 July 2011).
Should the case progress, it is anticipated a High Court date will be issued in early September 2011.


  1. Well done, hope you managed to make the 6th July deadline. It will be interesting to see what the Defence is, because if there are no valid points of law in the Defence, the Defence really ought to back down and not waste the time of the Courts and the money of the taxpayers. The trouble with being funded by taxes, is that there is no real incentive to back down as you are not staking your unpaid time and your own money.

    However, the Councils should consider how their behaviour appears to those who pay taxes - they don't SEEM to care what people think of them, but this could just be a face-saving exercise. Their face would look a lot better if they didn't try to save it! They will end up looking like that woman in New York who had so much plastic surgery on her face she ended up looking like a gargoyle.

  2. As it can be assumed that repeating a similar process to produce a replacement plan would take years of officer time, bucket loads of consultants evidence and even more public consulation, the cost to you and me the local taxpayer, will be far greater than the costs of a court case.

  3. At least this Challenge should make them wake and realise that they were elected to SERVE THE PEOPLE and not act like Dictators. But you only have to look at the County Council and their lack of democracy to the residents of West Norfolk to realise just how much of our Democracy has been lost.

  4. If the Councils and in particular our representatives had done even a half decent job of scrutiny or shown any interest in their own communities, these wretched plans would not have reached this point. It is our Councillors who are to blame, not the residents who are now having to do the job for them.