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Council should not pay appeal costs - councillor says
9:20am Monday 16th September 2013 in News
A COUNCILLOR has launched a bid to make sure taxpayers don’t have to pay the £75,000 bill for an upcoming public inquiry.
Plans for a gun club on Prospect Farm in Woolston to be open year round were turned down by councillors in February.
But with the developer launching an appeal to be heard in November - the council is facing the five figure bill if it loses.
Clr Russ Bowden is the council’s executive member for finance and one of the members who worked with residents to fight the application.
He said: “A group of Labour councillors worked with residents to fight these plans and we were all delighted when the application was refused.
“This shooting club is not needed or welcome, since it would have a devastating impact on Risley Moss - a Site of Special Scientific Interest - as well as the residential amenity of many hundreds of homes in Birchwood and Rixton.
“That view was supported by the planning committee and so it was very disappointing to see that the applicant didn’t get the message.
“They have shown scant regard for the planning process and have continued to develop the site without consent.
“The council must now press for the applicant to meet the costs of the planning inquiry if the refusal is upheld by the planning inspector.”
When the council won an appeal against Biffa in 2008, it still ended up with the bill because it did not pursue an application for costs in advance.
Clr Bowden added: “This planning inquiry is likely to cost around £75,000. At a time when we are dealing with savage Government cuts in funding, it would be simply unacceptable for the council to foot the bill for this frivolous appeal.
“I will therefore be pressing for the full costs of the inquiry to be met by the applicant in the event that their appeal is refused. ”
Work on the club has carried on despite the refusal and it is ready to open.
The planning inquiry is set for November 26 and is expected to last for up to three days.
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