Croydon planners set precedent

LAWYERS who successfully challenged Croydon Council planners claim their case has set a precedent on the treatment of archeological remains threatened by construction work.

They say the planning appeal judgment relating to a site in the centre of the south London borough clarifies Government policy.

Croydon clashed with developers AXA Equity & Law over its proposals for an office development on land which contained the remnants of an Anglo-Saxon burial site.

The authority refused to determine the application despite the plan appearing to be consistent with government policy, which says the remains should be "preserved in situ".

Councillors wanted the remains dug up from the Park Lane land and preserved elsewhere.

AXA hired law firm DJ Freeman to prepare the case. Moira Fraser, partner and head of the planning group, and assistant Richard Max briefed barrister Christopher Katkowski.

They successfully argued in favour of a plan which would involve building away from the remains, leaving them intact and capable of being monitored by scientists.

Fraser said last week that the judgment would allow councils to interpret the policy more clearly.

"There must be cases like this all over the country to which this decision will be extremely relevant."