SUSTO are delighted to announce that CALA Homes have abandoned their appeal to the High Court.

After our victory was announced in June, we were dismayed, but not altogether surprised, when we learnt that CALA were taking the decision to the High Court. The Parish Council then bravely and shrewdly took a barrister’s Opinion on whether SUSTO plus the Parish Council plus the Cotswold Conservation Board (ie the “Rule 6 parties”) should join the High Court proceedings as a distinct party, or put our evidence before the High Court in the form of a witness statement for WODC, who were defending the High Court case. The barrister sensibly advised the latter because we thus avoided the risk of costs against us if CALA won. The Rule 6 Party spokesman therefore provided WODC with a witness statement setting out our case and exhibiting all the Rule 6 parties’ evidence.

There was then a “sifting process” in which a single High Court Judge considered the papers. He found CALA’s Grounds of Appeal were not sound. CALA still had the right to argue the case before the full Court but they have decided not to do so. So we have won. There is no further right of appeal on this case. CALAmity has been avoided. Not only have we prevented the outskirts of our village from being ruined by an ugly, unwanted development, but we have put down a line in the sand for other settlements seeking the protection of their AONB status.

Please, however, remember we did not achieve this without a huge amount of work and the support of the Parish Council and the Cotswold Conservation Board. Developers have massive resources so it was a true case of David v Goliath, David in this case being a very small band of volunteers who put in enormous amounts of time and energy on the fight.

Figures CALA produced at the Planning Appeal showed planning permission would have resulted in gross profit to CALA of between £12 million and £20 million. That “unremarkable field” on the edge of our village could yet prove a gold mine to someone, and we are pretty sure that CALA or another developer will sooner or later be back. Let’s celebrate this great victory – but bear in mind we may well need your support again.

Caroline Friend