Broads rebranding will be reviewed – High Court judge

Broads rebranding will be reviewed – High Court judge

Landowners have won permission to challenge the legality of rebranding the Broads.

Tim and Geli Harris, of Catfield Hall, Catfield, sought an inquiry after the Broads Authority voted to rename the region’s waterways Broads National Park.

Yesterday, to the delight of the couple, a High Court judge ruled they have an arguable case that should go to a full judicial review hearing.

Professor Jacquie Burgess, chairman of the Broads Authority, said the organisation is confident in its defence against the legal action and has invited Mr and Mrs Harris to a meeting. In the legal documents, submitted by Mr Harris, 67, the Broads Authority is accused of acting “unlawfully”, and being “irrational” and “unreasonable”.

A High Court judge last month found there was no case to answer. Yesterday a second judge disagreed.

The name change was introduced in January in a bid to bring in more visitors – despite the area not legally becoming a national park.

Promises were made that there was no future ambition to become a national park in law and the Sandford Principle – which puts conservation as a priority over recreation and navigation – will not be applied for.

Mr and Mrs Harris have been battling to save Catfield Fen from being damaged by abstraction for the past seven years and say the experience has shown the Broads Authority’s decision-makers give “insufficient attention to support its conservation objectives”.

Professor Burgess said: “We followed the appropriate process in coming to our decisions relating to the branding of the Broads for the purposes of promoting the area and its special qualities. We are confident in our defence of this position so are happy to await the outcome of the judicial review claim later this year.

“We also look forward to having a meeting with Mr and Mrs Harris… so we can focus on what practical actions can be taken in managing the sensitive landscape of the Broads and progressing our working relationship.”

This news story was provided by Great Yarmouth Mercury

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