Portsmouth City Council vows to continue fighting planning application appeals despite St James's Hospital loss

The council has vowed to fight appeals for planning applications it does not approve (Photo: Rui Vieira)
The council has vowed to fight appeals for planning applications it does not approve (Photo: Rui Vieira)

Responding to an update on last week’s decision at their meeting, councillors described the planning inspector’s ruling as “very sad,” but that the lack of any costs being awarded against the council justified the decision to defend it.

FOR MORE READ: plans to redevelop St James' Hospital are approved

“Their view of the benefit of the city having yet more houses pushed on us is not in line with what local residents say,” councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, who represents the Milton ward, said. “The loss of over 50 protected trees and open space to this development is outrageous and there’s a lack of any affordable housing so there is no benefit to residents at all.

“I’m really sorry that a government inspector has overruled this committee yet again and that people in Milton will have to cope with the impact of this government inspector putting more house, more traffic onto our roads and I think it’s a very retrograde decision.”

But responding to the decision on costs, he added: “That’s really helpful to remember that sometimes when we’re advised that to defend an appeal we’ll face very large legal costs is sometimes to scare us into doing things we shouldn’t be doing.”

Councillors were told that while the planning inspector did not impose costs on the council for the loss of the appeal, no application was made by developer PJ Livesey for them.

The council has previously had costs awarded against it after it was ruled to have made “patently unreasonable” decisions to refuse planning applications.

In March, a planning inspector said the committee had “behaved unreasonably across several fronts” in rejecting applications to increase the size of HMOs by one room.

But councillor Lee Hunt said the St James’ decision outlined that the committee “was trying to do the right thing” and that it “shouldn’t be scared” of threats that the council would face “terrible costs”.