Council Loses Legal Battle

2 August 2016, 10:21 | Updated: 2 August 2016, 15:19

3 court of appeal judges have backed a local group opposed to plans to build 39 new sheltered apartments in Bexhill.

It's over a note on a consultation put out by Rother District Council- which said the Victorian Society had 'no comments.'

Resident Anne-Marie Loader complained that the note was ``seriously misleading'' - and judges agreed.

She said the note was included in the report after a business support assistant in the council's planning department e-mailed Heloise Brown, who he thought worked for the Victorian Society.

He had received an automatic reply which read:

 ``I have now left the Society, please contact James Hughes.''

But staff did not email Mr Hughes or contact anyone else, judges heard.

The planning officer's report ``simply'' said: ``No comments received.''

In the latest ruling, appeal judge, Lord Justice Lindblom, said:

``The note, 'Victorian Society: No comments received', though factually correct, was nonetheless misleading.

``The implication of the words, 'No comments received', could only be that the Victorian Society had been consulted on this proposal, had considered it, and had concluded they did not wish to object to it.

``This was the impression the committee was given. It was false.''

A High Court judge had ruled in favour of the council last year - and refused to quash the planning permission decision.

Appeal judges analysed the case at a hearing in London and over-ruled that decision because of ``council's failed consultation of the Victorian Society and the officer's misleading advice to the members on that matter''.