UPDATE ON JR RESULT Here is the judgment. The judge decided that the application should await the outcome of HDC's planning decision. After that the JR can be re-launched if SPC has not complied with its statutory duty.
Here is the most important bit of the judgment.
"if Horsham District Council does not grant planning permission, then the matter would be academic.... It cannot be that judicial review can be invoked at every step of the way to a final decision. On that basis, I refuse permission on both applications. However, I say this. On the papers I have seen, I do not regard Mr Campbell as being in any way vexatious in bringing these judicial reviews.... Moreover, he does raise an important point about the need to take into account the important duties set out in the National Parks Authority Act. It hardly needs me to say that Horsham District Council will need to address those duties."
The result is that AT LAST SPC has at least gone through the motions of compliance with its duty. It did this at its meeting of 13th January 2014 (press here to see) claiming that this was a "reaffirmation" when of course it was no such thing as it had not previously done it.
SPC still doesn't "get it" though. The duty is an ongoing one requiring a re-consideration of the National Park purposes every time SPC makes any decision affecting the National Park. So did it discuss the NP purposes when it amended the skatepark plans yet again on 20th February? No it did not.
And yet further dishonesty. Someone told their fellow councillors at an SPC working party meeting on 13th December 2013 that - "At the JR hearing the judge said that PC had taken regard to SDNP and have considered SDNP." Here are the minutes of the meeting. This is completely untrue. Just take another look at the judgment itself, here. The judge said no such thing.
While the judicial review cases are personal ones brought by our Vice-chair, Paul Campbell, we fully support all he is doing and so we have provided this page to host his documents.
The cases have been brought because, in deciding to add an ancillary car parking area next to the skatepark, the Parish Council failed to give any consideration to its legal duty under S11A of the National Parks Act 1949 which requires that the Parish Council must have regard to the National Park purposes which are to "conserve and enhance their natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage". The Parish Clerk simply came up with the grotesque idea of putting car parking in this location after a meeting with an HDC officer, and then amended the planning application Design and Access Statement with no public consultation or debate. The first case relates to this decision. The Full Council subsequently ratified the decision with not a word of discussion about the National Park purposes. The second case relates to this decision.
The Parish Council was given repeated explanations as to the nature of its legal duty under the Act, including copies of DEFRA and Natural England guidance documents. Relevant messages can be seen here . An example of the explicit explanation of the consequences of ignoring the duty is this, taken form an email sent on 30th September 2012
"The PC is now aware both that the skatepark will be in the National Park and that it has a statutory duty of “having regard” which “should include consideration of potential impacts on AONB/National Park purposes – with the expectation that adverse impacts will be avoided or mitigated where possible” and that this is a duty continuing right up to and including implementation of any activity or decision.
If the PC now perseveres with the planning application without being able to demonstrate that it has had proper regard to this statutory duty then the decision to keep going will be liable to judicial review........the PC runs the risk of a substantial costs award against it."
An editorial in the Herald on 8th August 2013 spins the false and cynical propaganda line from the Parish Council that the court cases are an attempt to "break" or "bring down" the Parish Council. Paul has refuted this slur by sending a rebuttal letter to the Herald. This letter also refers to some of the Council's misconduct including its earlier slurs against the Friends, against the electors who called the by-election poll and against the late chairman Councillor Blackie who signed the registration form for the original village green registration which was confirmed back in 1974. For more detail about these slurs and other misconduct, please see our separate "Council Misconduct" tab
Click here for the text of Paul's letter. We hope it will be published by the Herald in unedited form.
The huge number of attempts by Paul to avoid the litigation which were spurned by the Council and which are referred to in his letter can be viewed by clicking here - hardly the conduct of someone seeking to "break" the Council, we think. Despite these documented attempts the Parish Council's untrue propaganda spin has been that Paul has refused to discuss matters with the Council.
And the judicial review cases can be seen at the following links:-
Statement of Facts for challenge of decision of March 2013 made by the Clerk to put car parking next to the skatepark; click here.
Grounds of Request for rehearing; click here.
Statement of Facts for challenge of decision of July 2013 by full council to ratify Clerk's decision to introduce car parking; click here.