Planning permission likely to be quashed

Jim Kenyon has been opposing development on the old Hemsworth Sports Complex for the last four years. He applied for a judicial review and has now been granted one by the High Court in London.'left - right, Stan Wilson, Jim Kenyon and David Pringle
Jim Kenyon has been opposing development on the old Hemsworth Sports Complex for the last four years. He applied for a judicial review and has now been granted one by the High Court in London.'left - right, Stan Wilson, Jim Kenyon and David Pringle
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WAKEFIELD Council has agreed in principle to quash a planning application for a residential development on Hemsworth Sports Complex.

Developer Saul Construction was granted permission to build 147 houses and 10 retirement apartments on the Kirkby Road complex in 2008.

The land was sold to the company complete with planning permission by Hemsworth Town Council, after years of thrashing out an agreement between the two parties. It was part of a turn-key agreement, which also saw Saul Construction build the Hemsworth Town Council Community Centre, Bullenshaw Road, and the Sandygate Football Facility.

But Hemsworth resident Jim Kenyon - who is now a member of the town council - successfully applied for a judicial review at the High Court in London on the grounds that Wakefield Council had not carried out an environmental impact assessment.

The district council had the option to quash the application or to contest the judicial review in court. Providing negotiations between Coun Kenyon, Saul Construction and both councils can be agreed, Wakefield Council will ask the High Court to quash the application.

The developer will then have to re-apply for planning permission in the usual way.

Coun Kenyon said he would not object to a renewed application if a fullsize pitch, junior pitch, clubhouse and changing rooms were built on the former complex site, alongside the residential development.

Coun Kenyon had been ordered by the High Court to pay Wakefield Council’s legal costs as he failed on most of the grounds of his application but the two parties have now agreed to compromise on this aspect.

He said: “The council has agreed to quash the application and we now all need to get round the table and work out how to move forward. I am determined to reach an agreement that allows the community to retain part of the complex site as a sports facility.”

Ian Thomson, service director for planning, transportation and highways, said: “The council confirms that it has consented to the quashing of the planning permission but this is subject to the agreement of the other parties involved and subject to ratification by the courts.

“The council and Mr Kenyon have agreed to compromise on legal costs and that again is subject to confirmation by the High Court.

“If the court quashes the planning permission, the council will be obliged to look again at the planning application in the normal way.”