Thakeham group’s High court challenge rejected

Thakeham Mushrooms Ltd site''Picture Derek Martin
Thakeham Mushrooms Ltd site''Picture Derek Martin

A village action group has been ordered to pay £10,000 costs after a judge refused its judicial review.

Thakeham Village Action Ltd (TVA) sought the hearing to challenge Horsham District Council’s approval of plans to build 146 homes in the village.

The development of the former Abingworth Nurseries and Chesswood sites was linked to payment of £3.75m for substantial improvements to secure the future of Monaghan Mushrooms’ site and also promised to provide a raft of new village facilities.

TVA had sought to persuade Mr Justice Lindblom at London’s High Court to quash the decision by HDC and reconsider the proposals on the grounds that the decisions had not been taken in line with planning law.

This week group spokesman Jean Locker described the result as ‘a great pity’.

She added: “We expect that the assault on the UK countryside from housing developments in unsuitable locations will gather momentum because of this decision.”

But the outcome was welcomed by HDC chairman Philip Circus, who told the County Times he was ‘delighted’.

“Although we have been successful in having an award of £10,000 costs against Thakeham Village Action, this is scant compensation for the delay and cost TVA has caused,” he said.

“I think we should be told who TVA are, how many members they have and who is bankrolling them. The community has a right to know who these people are that believe they have the right to subvert the decisions of democratically elected representatives.

“Finally, we have got to put a stop to this endless challenging of public authorities through judicial review because the process is being seriously abused. We need to stop those cases which are simply intended to thwart the decisions of properly constituted democratically elected and accountable public authorities.”