The High Court has quashed planning permission for a care home because of an error in a City of York Council report.
A judge overturned the permission given to Octopus Healthcare to demolish an existing care home and build a 64-bedroom replacement on Fordlands Road in Fulford.
Two residents, John Matthews and Mary Urmston, had taken the council and Octopus to court over the expected impact on their nearby properties.
In her ruling, Judge Belcher upheld that an error in a report to councillors about the need for care beds in Fulford could have materially affected the decision, and that was why permission had to be quashed.
Committee ‘significantly misled’
Fulford Parish Council wrote to York to challenge the report’s claim that there was a shortfall of care provision in the Fulford area. The parish council said there was already three times over-provision.
These revised figures for care home places in the area were included in a part of the city council report devoted to flood risk, but not elsewhere, the judge ruled. She wrote:
There is nothing from which this court could properly conclude that the corrected figures were taken into account by members when considering fundamentally important issues such as the principle of development and the planning balance.
I conclude that the overall effect of the report was to significantly mislead the committee about the level of undersupply in the local area and which was left uncorrected in relation to the issues of the principle of development and the planning balance.
Four other grounds for challenging the decision were rejected.
A City of York Council spokesperson said:
We recognise the verdict and while we are disappointed we will not be challenging it.
This planning application will now need to be re-determined by the council’s planning committee. This is expected to take place later this year.
A second planning application, which responded to concerns raised by neighbours, has already been approved by the planning committee.
This permission remains valid and, following due process, we hope that construction of the much needed care home on this site will begin in the autumn.
A spokeswoman for the Octopus Healthcare Group said they would not be commenting on the judgement or the planning committee report.