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Lakenheath Parish Council win right to launch judicial review against Suffolk County Council over proposed school

Lakenheath Parish Council is set to mount a legal challenge that could see planning permission for a primary school overruled.

This week, the authority won the right to launch a judicial review to try to prove Suffolk County Council breached planning guidelines.

Parish councillors agree the 420-place primary and 30-place pre-school is needed to facilitate the 660 homes set to be built in the village.

An artist's impression of the new primary school for Lakenheath
An artist's impression of the new primary school for Lakenheath

Their opposition relates to its proposed Station Road location under a flightpath to the nearby RAF Lakenheath and say noise exceeds guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation.

The judicial review is effectively a last roll of the dice for the parish council’s hopes in overturning the decision and is funded by taxpayers.

“We believe a school should be appropriately situated," Hermione Brown, parish councillor

Councillor Hermione Brown, planning sub-committee chairman, said: “This is an important milestone in the case.

“We believe a school should be appropriately situated, well away from the flight path with all its noise and safety implications. We want to protect the children of our community.”

John Howell QC, deputy High Court judge, approved the review – which will be heard at the Planning Court on a yet to be confirmed date later this year.

He also approved a permission order which limits the parish council’s costs to £15,000. The authority would recover these costs in litigation if the planning consent is quashed.

Cllr Brown said she believed the result of a 2015 referendum via the Lakenheath Times provided a mandate.

A Suffolk County Council spokesperson, said: “The County Council considers the judicial review claim is misconceived. The new school has been designed to be suitable for use in Lakenheath, taking into account site specific concerns including noise. The new school will provide sufficient places for pupils arising from proposed housing developments in the local area, to meet expected local needs. The proposed location for the school is shown by official figures to be in the quietest part of the village. Two of the three grounds of claim have been rejected by the court already, and the County Council will continue to oppose the claim when it comes before the Planning Court.”

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