A Cuffley resident is seeking permission to challenge Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council for its decision to grant planning permission for 14 homes within the Green Belt, at Wells Farm.

The council’s resolution to grant permission followed an earlier decision to refuse the application a month earlier. An FOI request revealed the vote was reconsidered by the committee as "Councillor X was not paying attention to proceedings".

The Cuffley resident’s claim argues that: 

  • The council did not give any reason for rescinding its earlier decision to refuse permission; 
  • The council acted contrary to the established legal principle of consistency in decision-making; 
  • In deciding to grant permission, the council failed to consider its reasons for earlier resolving to refuse permission; 
  • The council misunderstood the meaning of national policy relating to the Green Belt; and 
  • The council did not properly consider the harm to the openness of the Green Belt arising from the development. 

Councillor Bob Stubbs of Northaw Cuffley Parish Council said: "The Parish Council is fully supportive of the Judicial Review proceedings which have been initiated by a local resident who is being advised by a world class firm of specialist lawyers.  

“The key question being addressed via the Judicial Review is whether WHBC have a justifiable reason for rerunning the planning decision on Wells Farm.

"It is the view of the Parish Council, the resident and the retained lawyers that WHBC had no legal or justifiable basis for a rerun.  

“WHBC have received the legal papers and now have a few weeks to submit their outline defense to the court. Unless and until we have sight of WHBC's defense, we cannot comment any further." 

A spokesperson from the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council said: "We are aware that a third party has sought permission to seek a judicial review relating to a site in Cuffley.

“The council will be robustly defending its position and no further comment will be made whilst the legal process is ongoing." 

A judge will consider the arguments made by the resident and the council’s responses before deciding whether to allow the claim to proceed to a full hearing.