High Court turns down TAAP appeal

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A judge at the High Court has turned down an estate’s appeal to block Breckland Council’s controversial plans to build 5,000 homes to the north of Thetford.

The Shadwell Estate, in Thetford, had claimed the Thetford Area Action Plan (TAAP), was built on inadequate sustainability and environmental assessments.

The Estate said a 1,500 metre buffer zone in which development is prohibited - called a special protection area (SPA) and used to protect the stone curlew - was inadequate.

But today at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Beatson dismissed the case, saying the council had carefully taken into account the potential impact on the stone curlew and that it had the ‘strong support’ of Natural England and the RSPB.

Evidence was produced suggesting that the housing development could have a serious impact on the nesting density of stone curlews up to a distance of 2,500 outside the SPA.

However, the judge said such evidence was considered ‘anecdotal’ by the RSPB and that the charity and Natural England had given ‘considerable weight’ to the SPA.

He concluded by saying Shadwell had not given ‘cogent and compelling reasons’ for doubting those views and there was no evidence of sufficient breeding attempts by stone curlews on the nearby Kilverstone Estate to justify it being placed within the buffer zone.

A planning application for the development of the land has been entered by property company, Pigeon Ltd.