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Legal bid over hemp farm refused

PUBLISHED: 10:00 13 February 2009 | UPDATED: 21:25 07 July 2010

Villagers battling to overturn a decision to grant planning permission for England's largest hemp processing plant have had their claim refused by the House of Lords.

Villagers battling to overturn a decision to grant planning permission for England's largest hemp processing plant have had their claim refused by the House of Lords.

Roudham and Larling Parish Council took on lawyers to fight Breckland Council after it gave the go-ahead to land owner Paul Rackham to have a hemp plant at Camp Farm, Roudham.

Cambridge solicitors Richard Buxton have taken the issue to the High Court and Court of Appeal, failing both times.

The site has not been used since given the go-ahead - and the plant was in fact built at Halesworth in Suffolk instead.

Now papers released by the Lords, the highest court in the land, have revealed their latest appeal has been thrown out by three Lords.

Mr Buxton said: “We tried to take this to the House of Lords because we believe there was a clear breach of European law.

"There are various options open to the parish council which we will be considering with them. The decision also has important implications for the use of the Camp Farm site as a whole."

The issue is tied to use of other barns on the site, which have been subject enforcement action by Breckland, although this has been on hold pending the outcome of the Hemp farm case.

The legal action is understood not be costing the parish council anything through a no win no fee type arrangement.

Leslie Southwood, parish clerk, said the council was aware of the ruling, that the council was not paying ongoing costs but that she could add nothing else.

Residents in Roudham and Larling were against the hemp plant plans because of noise and traffic concerns and claimed the public were not given a fair opportunity to lodge their concerns with Breckland Council.

Hemcore opened a £3.6m plant in Halesworth in August 2008 after giving up on its original proposals because of increased costs.

A spokesman for Breckland said: “Roudham and Larling Parish Council challenged in the High Court, Court of Appeal and House of Lords the decision of Breckland Council's development control committee.

“In each case the original decision of Breckland's Development Control Committee has proved to be unimpeachable.”


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