Widdington Parish Council won a High Court planning challenge against Uttlesford District Council over plans for a housing development in a protected area.

Developers applied to build four houses on a meadow adjacent to Cornells Lane, which is within the Widdington Conservation Area and designated as a 'protected lane' in Uttlesford's Local Plan.

The parish council felt that the development would be "damaging to the village", due to its proximity to the conservation area and multiple Grade II listed buildings.

After Uttlesford District Council's planning committee granted permission for the development, Widdington Parish Council set up a Crowd Justice fundraising page to help fund a judicial review.

A temporary Tree Protection Order was also put in place, which the parish council has asked the district council to make permanent.

A statement on the Crowd Justice page said: "This is the latest in a long list of unwelcome planning applications that Widdington Parish Council have had to fund action against in recent years including a plan to build a bus depot on a pasture on the road into the village, repeated applications to turn remote, disused chicken sheds into houses and the expansion and industrialisation of the Widdington pit."

Widdington Parish Council chair Cllr Ian Southcott added: "The residents of Widdington have unanimously objected to multiple applications to develop this pasture land since 2017.


"Local communities will always find it difficult to accept development which is against the wishes of the vast majority of its population.

"However, they will never accept development when the local authority misleads its planning committee regarding the law, which was why Widdington Parish Council took Uttlesford Planning Department to the High Court and had the decision overturned."

The High Court ordered Uttlesford District Council to pay £35,000 towards the parish council's legal costs.

An Uttlesford District Council spokesperson said: "The court found officers gave 'misleading legal simplification' to the planning committee.

"There is no question of officers deliberately misleading the committee. In effect what was found was an over-simplification of a complicated legal matter.

"The council will now re-consider the application with the court’s comments in mind."