Bosses at East Staffordshire Borough Council say they are “delighted” after successfully fighting plans to build 150 homes on green land near Burton’s Queen’s Hospital through the courts.
The victory means developer Barwood Strategic Land has had its hopes dashed following a hearing at the Court of Appeal.
Despite a storm of local opposition, Barwood fought to keep alive its plans for a 15.8-acres site off Lower Outwoods Road, known as Red House Farm Phase 2, by appealing after its scheme was initially turned down by the borough council.
But now the council's decision to refuse the plan has been upheld by three of the country's most senior judges sitting at the Court of Appeal.
The council told the court the land was not identified for development in its Local Plan, which acts as a blueprint for development in the area, including where homes and industry should be build.
An independent government planning inspector who overturned the council’s refusal for the development in April last year had gone wrong when it came to the law, the court ruled.
In his decision, the inspector had found that the social and economic benefits of the scheme outweighed any harm to the open countryside, the court was told.
He recognised the "strong local feeling" against the project, but said the development would be "sustainable" and provide affordable housing, the judges heard.
The council's challenge pf the inspector's decision was upheld by the High Court last year and the planning permission was overturned.
And Lord Justice Lindblom, sitting with Lords Justice Underhill and Gross, has now rejected Barwood's challenge to that decision.
The judge noted that the council had in place a five-year supply of housing land.
The development also conflicted with three Local Plan policies which discouraged further extension of Burton into the countryside.
And, in granting consent, the inspector had mis-applied the National Planning Policy Framework, he ruled.
The inspector's error "went to the heart" of his decision and the planning permission had to be quashed, he concluded.
Councillor Jacqui Jones, deputy leader for planning at the borough council, said after the ruling: “This has been a long struggle to uphold our Local Plan. We worked hard to develop and adopt a Local Plan and appropriate local planning policies, we spent time and money to make sure that we consulted and listened to residents throughout the borough and we continue to maintain a five year land supply.
"This Local Plan should be the basis for planning for our borough going forward and I’m absolutely delighted that the decision made by the council’s planning committee has been upheld by the Court of Appeal.”
Barwood Strategic Land did not wish to comment.
This latest application was phase two in the development. The first phase for 246 homes was approved at the appeal stage.
The Red House Farm Phase 2 site was formally used for turf production. The proposed access to the site was to be primarily off Belvedere Road, through a section of a car parking area related to Burton's Queen's Hospital site.
The plans would have seen the hospital lose up to 55 car parking spaces, as the main road from the proposed development was set to run straight through the hospital car park. To deal with the impending loss of spaces, plus the ever-increasing use of the car park, Burton NHS Foundation Trust had planned to build two multi-storey car parks, which are now being "reviewed".