Farnham Town Council are undertaking a very financially risky High Court challenge against the development of 146 homes either side of Waverley Lane in South Farnham.
Such challenges are for those with deep pockets where the probability of success is greater than 50 per cent.
This challenge without evidence to the contrary puts the pockets of the precept taxpayers at risk, not the town councillors, unless they have undertaken to accept the financial risk for their personal account.
This is a perverse Farnham Town Council decision considering that Farnham Residents Party shared the approval of the development 320 homes at Coxbridge farm based upon a 2018 screening opinion that claimed no significant harm to Farnham would result.
This decision could be argued a breach of the Aarhus convention to which the UK is a signatory. The Aarhus convention empowers the role of citizens and civil society organisations within environmental matters, and it is founded on the principles of participative democracy.
The Aarhus Convention provides for the right of the citizens to participate in preparing plans, programmes, policies, and legislation that may affect the environment.
Councillors debating this challenge behind closed doors breaches the principles of participative democracy and makes it unlikely that the Farnham Town Council can use Aarhus to limit costs.
In the public interest and the councillors’ obligation to deliver value for money this decision needs urgent reconsideration.
Quennells Hill, Farnham