Oystons suffer another courtroom setback

Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston
Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston

A company run by the men at the top of Blackpool FC has lost a legal battle against Fylde Council.

Oyston Estates Ltd – which lists Owen and Karl Oyston as directors – has been ordered to pay the council’s £1,250 legal costs for a failed legal challenge over a decision that could make it harder to build homes on land it owns in St Annes.

The firm, which is separate from the football club, went to the High Court to challenge the St Annes Neighbourhood Development Plan, which was approved by 90 per cent of residents at a referendum in May.

Oyston Estates, listed as a mixed farming business, had argued for its land at Lytham Moss, near the planned Queensway housing development, to be included as part of the St Annes settlement area.

The plan states that ‘Development will be directed towards the existing settlement’ and so may have made it easier to get planning permission for homes on the site.

The court heard an independent examiner appointed by the council had recommended that Lytham Moss be included withing the settlement boundary.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Kerr said: “That, according to the decision statement, was considered by the local planning authority not to be compliant with the basic conditions in that it ‘breaches EU obligations’.”

He rejected the claim because it was made too late.

The firm had six weeks to contest the decision, and the judge ruled the clock started in March, when the decision was published, and not in May, when the final order was made following the referendum, as had been argued.

Mr Justice Kerr added: “The claim is out of time, and although arguable on its merits, permission (to proceed)must for that reason be refused.”

Oyston Estates was granted permission to appeal the ruling.