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Boar farm barn row in Pitt Wood ends in Braintree council paying undisclosed costs

A district council found itself in hot water after giving the go-ahead for a barn on a wild boar farm.

The owners of the The New England Boar Company applied to build the 18m by 12m by 5m high barn at its site in Pitt Wood, near Sturmer, in February last year.

The council gave the go-ahead in March.

However, nearby residents, who also opposed the establishment of the farm in 2015, felt that the necessary conditions for approval had not been met and wrote to the council, two days before permission was granted.

The High Court, London
The High Court, London

The residents’ group, which consists of six members, then wrote to the council again in April but say ‘the letter was ignored’.

In response they took the case to the High Court for a judicial review, set for November 25, last year.

Shortly before this date, however, Braintree District Council decided not to defend the decision and paid the residents' costs at an undisclosed sum.

A spokesman for the residents’ group said: “The settlement agreed by Braintree District Council vindicates our hard work to ensure that truth prevails, and the council is held to account.

It was disappointing that the council gave us no other option but to proceed to the High Court.

"However, we are encouraged that the law will hold councils to account, and we would do the same again should it become necessary.

A Braintree District Council spokesperson, said: “An individual brought a judicial review claim against the council in respect of its treatment of an application for a determination as to whether prior approval was required for a new agricultural building - one of the conditions relating to the fact that what was proposed, is considered ‘permitted development’ and does not need formal planning permission.

“Although the matter was formally conceded close to the hearing date, Braintree District Council had already indicated to the court in the summer that it did not wish to defend its decision.

“The primary basis for this was that the council had not given sufficient reasons for its decision that no prior approval was required.

The law is unclear in this area, and so the council therefore considered it a prudent use of its funds to compromise the claim, rather than fight it in court.

"The matter is currently back with the council’s planning and legal teams for further consideration.”

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