High Court decision to block lorry park in Great Ryburgh faces appeal

Protestors letting their feelings been known about the planned lorry park in Great Ryburgh last year

Protestors letting their feelings been known about the planned lorry park in Great Ryburgh last year. - Credit: Archant

North Norfolk District Council and Crisp Maltings Group Ltd yesterday announced their intention to appeal against a High Court decision to block plans for a lorry park and industrial units in Great Ryburgh, near Fakenham.

Campaigners who oppose the plans said they are 'outraged' at the council's decision and have asked the council makes public how much tax payers' money would be lost if the appeal was unsuccessful.

The council was unable to confirm this when contacted by the EDP yesterday and said it was looking to recover some of the costs of the original case.

The EDP reported last month how the campaigners won a judicial review at the High Court.

NNDC granted Crisp Maltings planning permission in 2011 to build a lorry park, silos and a fuel storage unit on a greenfield site.

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But judge James Dingemans QC overturned that decision, pinpointing a fundamental 'inconsistency' in the council's approach.

This centred on the fact that a full environmental impact assessment was not carried out amid concerns over risk of polluting the River Wensum, a designated a Special Area of Conservation.

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The judge's decision meant that the council must consider Crisp Maltings' application afresh and, if it identified any pollution risk, must carry out full environmental and habitat assessments before it can lawfully grant planning permission.

But the council said in a statement yesterday: 'NNDC and Crisp Maltings Group Ltd are seeking leave to appeal against the decision of the High Court. 'NNDC has taken this decision after receiving advice from counsel that there are strong legal grounds for an appeal to be made.

'In originally approving 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 80pc of the claimant's costs of £35,000 (i.e. £28,000).'

The Ryburgh Village Amenity Group, which opposed the plans, has responded by sending a letter to council members which states: 'Having consistently urged the council to initiate more detailed environmental assessments, we are disappointed that so much money has been spent on this case – particularly by a council that has gone to great lengths to assure voters that it is determined to eliminate waste at all levels.

'Now, as Council Tax payers, we are astonished and outraged that the council is contemplating further unplanned expenditure on an appeal of the detailed judgement of the High Court.

'You have to start asking yourself, who exactly is the district council fighting for when it is fighting against part of the community that has voted it into office?

'A decision to continue to defy calls from so many quarters to carry out a proper ecological survey begs many questions – not least, what is there to lose from doing the job properly and finding out the whole truth about the overall impact of transferring a lorry park from a brown field to a green field site?'

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