Second legal challenge against south Oxfordshire local plan quashed

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New homes being builtImage source, PA
Image caption,
Thousands of homes are set to be built in South Oxfordshire over the next 15 years

Legal action against a plan to build 13,500 homes in south Oxfordshire has been quashed for a second time.

Bioabundance CIC wanted to take South Oxfordshire District Council's local plan to judicial review because of environmental concerns.

Its second attempt was refused by a second High Court judge on Thursday, after a previous effort was rejected in March.

Mrs Justice Lang ruled there were no grounds to argue for a judicial review.

Throwing out the case, she ordered community-led company Bioabundance to pay the council's £8,000 legal costs, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
About 1,700 homes could be built on land off Grenoble Road, close to Oxford United's Kassam Stadium

In December, a coalition of Liberal Democrat and Green councillors said they were "forced" to approve the plan.

Bioabundance attempted to appeal for a judicial review on several grounds, including that cabinet members had been put under pressure from the government to adopt its local plan because of "threat to usurp the council's function and possibly remove planning powers".

The group, made up of South Oxfordshire residents and some councillors, also argued too many homes were included in the plan.

In a statement, following the hearing, South Oxfordshire District Council said although Bioabundance might take the judgement to the Court of Appeal, it remained "confident it worked within the law to produce and adopt" its local plan.

It added its plan continued to "have full weight in any planning decision made and remains the adopted policy of the council".

The plan - a blueprint for development up until 2035 - has cost more than £3.6m.

It proposes building 30,000 homes on green and brown belt sites, including Grenoble Road, Culham and Chalgrove Airfield - with several thousand having already been built or in the pipeline.

It first drafted a local plan in 2014 and has conducted about 120 studies and seven public consolations on various versions.

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