Norfolk

Great Ryburgh lorry park plans: Council appeals review

A council is seeking to overturn a High Court judicial review which block plans to expand a maltings with a lorry park and barley silos.

In 2011 Crisp Maltings Group Ltd won permission from North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) for the development at Great Ryburgh near Fakenham.

But villagers appealed and the High Court quashed the decision on 7 May.

The council said it is seeking leave to appeal the decision.

The authority said it had "taken this decision after receiving advice from counsel that there are strong legal grounds for an appeal to be made".

'Inconsistent and irrational'

A council spokeswoman added: "In originally resolving to approve the development, the council's development committee carefully considered the environmental impact of the proposal as well as recognising the significant investment proposed by Crisp Maltings Ltd in their Ryburgh operation.

"The council believes that the previous decision of the development committee was sound and feels it must question the judge's conclusions particularly given the financial implications of his decision.

"If the appeal is successful, then the court will also be able to reconsider the question of costs in the original appeal, specifically the order requiring NNDC to pay 80% (£28,000) of the claimant's costs of £35,000."

David Thompson, chief executive of Anglia Maltings (Holdings) Ltd - which owns Crisp Maltings, said earlier the firm would be studying the judgement before deciding on a new application.

At the High Court hearing in May, James Dingemans QC, acting as Deputy High Court Judge, said councillors should reconsider and decide whether there was a risk of pollutants entering the River Wensum.

He said - in a written ruling published after a hearing in April - if councillors thought that there was a risk, then environmental assessments should be carried out.

The judge said the river was a site of special scientific interest and a European Union designated special area of conservation.

He said Matthew Champion, a member of the Ryburgh Village Action Group, had launched a legal challenge after pollution concerns were raised.

The judge said the council had decided not to order environmental assessments but, at the same time, had ordered water quality testing to ensure pollutants were not contaminating the river.

Mr Champion said that decision was "inconsistent and irrational". The judge agreed, saying councillors could not "rationally" adopt both positions at once.

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