Council support for Haddenham’s neighbourhood plan has been withdrawn, after a developer appealed its approval.
Aylesbury Vale District Council has said it will no longer contest the legal challenge made by developers, Lightwood Strategic Ltd, to the village’s neighbourhood plan.
The case was due to be heard in the High Court on Wednesday 9 March.
The plan was approved in September 2015 and since then the developer has been pursuing a judicial review claiming mistakes were made in its preparation.
Although parish councils prepare neighbourhood plans, AVDC has to respond to, and fund, the costs of any legal challenges.
Further evidence was submitted by the developer at the end of last week and AVDC says it consulted its barrister about the impact of that evidence and the prospects of the case being won.
And on the basis of that advice, the council says it has decided to withdrawal its support.
Councillor Carole Paternoster, cabinet member for growth strategy, said: “It is very regrettable that we have to take this step but we have to act in the best interests of Aylesbury Vale overall.
This decision should not be seen as a lessening of the authority’s support for neighbourhood plans generally.”
Philip Chichester, of Lightwood Strategic, said: “We welcome the council’s decision to withdraw from contesting the legal challenge to the Haddenham Neighbourhood Plan.
“Lightwood fully supports the principle of good neighbourhood planning, and we are working with many communities to help them prepare robust plans.
“But where there are fundamental flaws in a plan it is only right that they are appropriately challenged and addressed.
“There were serious errors in the scoring system used to allocate areas for development in the Haddenham plan, and it also failed to reflect Aylesbury Vale’s strategic housing requirement for the area.”
He added: “It is important to remember that Aylesbury Vale has twice voted to grant permission for Haddenham Glebe, recognising the vital contribution it will make to the area’s strategic housing requirements and the many community benefits it would bring.
“These include affordable housing with priority given to local families, nearly 11 hectares of open space, funding for bus services and a much-needed new burial ground. We very much hope that these plans will be able to progress soon, subject to approval by the Secretary of State.”