A GROUP set up to fight a housing development must pay back £5,000 to East Staffordshire Borough Council after a judicial review was dropped.
The authority spent more than £11,000 to fight a challenge from Friends of Outwoods in the High Court, in a case which centred around a dispute over Hallam Land Management’s plans to build up to 950 homes in Upper Outwoods
However, due to a ruling by the judge, the council can claim back only half of its expenses.
John Anderson (pictured), of Friends of Outwoods, said the group would hold a meeting with residents to determine what the remaining money – originally raised to fight against the plans – would be spent on.
The judicial review was launched after the borough council granted permission for the 950 homes to be built.
The protest group argued the council had approved plans ‘to avoid adverse costs consequences that would follow a successful appeal against the first application’.
Hallam Land Management was appealing against the council’s non-determination over its first application, despite it then approving an almost identical second one.
A spokesman for the council said: “The court rules mean that it is possible that the council’s costs may have been limited to that sum (£5,000) anyway, even if the claim had gone to court for a full hearing. Accepting this contribution now has therefore meant avoiding spending further public money unnecessarily.
“We are pleased this matter has been concluded and that there is now no longer any doubt about the legality of the decision. We always believed we had a strong case and this was, presumably, a factor in why the claimant withdrew his claim.
“We understand the developer will now be withdrawing its appeal against the previous refusal to grant planning permission in respect of the original application.”