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New Town Plans Survive Bird Habitat Objections

Published: 25 February 2015, in categories: Legal Updates | Residential Property Updates | News and Updates

Controversial plans for a ‘new town’ in rural Suffolk have survived a legal attack by environmental campaigners who fear the impact that 2,000 new homes may have on one of the most carefully protected bird habitats in Britain.

The local authority had adopted the scheme as its ‘preferred option’ for meeting the pressing need for more new housing in the area. However, less than a mile from the proposed site was a river estuary which was classified both as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area, primarily due to its nationally significant populations of various bird species.

A campaign group opposed the plans, arguing that such a large housing scheme so close to the protected estuary was bound to cause significant disturbance to nesting birds through an increase in visitor numbers and dog walking. The group’s judicial review challenge to the council’s decision to enshrine the proposals as a central feature of its core strategy was, however, rejected.

In dismissing the group’s challenge to that ruling, the Court of Appeal found that planners had properly taken into account European directives designed to protect the environment and wildlife habitats. Although there had been procedural defects in the early stages of the planning process, they had been remedied by the time the core strategy was adopted.

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