Runnymede council challenged over new homes

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum owns the firm that owns the Longcross Estate

A company owned by the ruler of Dubai is challenging a decision to approve plans for more than 100 new homes in Surrey.

Solicitors acting for Smech Properties Limited, which owns the Longcross Estate, have served papers on Runnymede Council.

Crest Nicholson was granted permission for the "village" on a site in Longcross, near Chertsey, in July.

Smech Properties is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

Sheikh Mohammed is also vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.

Smech Properties is applying for a judicial review relating to the process the council followed in granting planning permission for the former Defence Evaluation and Research Agency site.

'Technical legal grounds'

A council spokesman said the authority was currently drafting and submitting its summary grounds of defence.

Mario Leo, the council's corporate head of governance and assets, said: "This judicial review has been brought on a number of technical legal grounds relating to the process the council followed in making its decision to grant planning permission.

"It is the view of the council that it has fully complied with its legal obligations and it will defend this claim vigorously."

A spokeswoman from Allen & Overy solicitors, who are acting on behalf of Smech Properties, said she could not comment because the case was ongoing.

Correction 4 October: This story has been amended to correct Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum's UAE title.

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