Redrow developers have submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate over the proposed Harts Farm development.
Although the appeal is for 'non determination' of the outline application by Hertsmere within the statutory eight week timeframe, it is likely that this was triggered by a belief that the application would be refused by the planning committee on 19 January.
In reality, this allows Redrow's planning case in full to be examined by Inspectorate in the hope it is upheld.
The determination of the application was withdrawn from the January meeting after Redrow failed to submit an archaeological report requested by planning officers. Hertsmere now intend to determine the application at the February meeting following a site visit last week by some of th committee.
Said Little Bushey Community spokesperson, Nik Oakley: "We have local elections in May and Conservative councillors have no hope of holding onto their seats if they approve the application. Whilst that might sound like a win for us, the real danger is that they refuse it on weak grounds."
Continued, Nik Oakley: "By doing this, it will allow Redrow to argue against those reasons and for the Inspectorate to uphold the appeal. The reasons for refusal must be robust."
The Little Bushey Community campaign team believe that refusing the application on weak grounds will allow Conservative councillors to blame the Inspectorate should they allow the appeal.
The date for the appeal has not yet been set, but Redrow have asked that 10 days be set aside for the hearing.
Little Bushey Community can be party to the appeal by applying for rule 6 status. That means they can appear alongside Hertsmere in presenting the case against development and cross examining Redrow's witnesses. Organisations are permitted to represent themselves, but it is far better to appoint a specialist planning barrister who could cost some £35,000.