Borough Local Plan legal challenge awaits judge ruling

Shay Bottomley

shayb@baylismedia.co.uk

The legal challenge against the Borough Local Plan hangs in the balance following a technical error in serving the papers.

Whether the case is heard at all now depends on the discretion of a judge, three months after the challenge was first lodged.

Following the adoption of the BLP on February 8, objectors had six weeks to legally challenge the ruling by the Conservative-controlled council in court.

The Maidenhead Great Park Community Interest Company (CIC) promoted and funded filing for a statutory challenge of the Royal Borough’s BLP on March 22, six weeks to the day since the meeting at Holiday Inn.

However, just over a week later, MGP were informed by their then-solicitor over a technical issue in serving the papers to the council, who subsequently resigned from the case.

Following this, the group began working with a new firm of solicitors, and were advised that, although the legal document
was not ‘sealed’ in time, the case was ‘lodged’ in time, meaning a judge has discretion as to whether to accept the case.

According to the group, the judge has asked RBWM to respond to the grounds of the challenge, although it is believed that no case has yet been submitted.

The Secretary of State, a defendant in this case as the inspector held the BLP examination under his authority, has accepted service of the claim and has responded to two of the three grounds so far.

Tina Quadrino, chair of the Maidenhead Great Park campaign group, said: “We have obviously been very upset by the fact that this process was not completed exactly the way that it should have been, through no fault of the claimant, but we have worked really hard in the interim to do everything that we can to mitigate this issue.

“We believe the judge has discretion in this matter and we are truly hopeful that she will agree with residents that the profound long-term consequences mean that it is in the public interest for the case proceed.”

“We would like to thank everyone who has supported this legal challenge which aims to protect the long-term health and well-being of residents, and protect our wonderful habitats and environments.”

Tina added that the group will continue to campaign against the development of Maidenhead Golf Course going forward.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The Borough Local Plan was adopted in February 2022.

“Although the council received notification that a legal claim regarding the adoption of the BLP was lodged with the court, the claimant’s legal representative failed to correctly serve the claim on the council within the six-week period.

“The court must now decide whether or not the claim can proceed.”

For more information about the Maidenhead Great Park campaign, go to www.maidenheadgreatpark.co.uk 

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