THE High Court has struck a blow against the city council over its handling of a bid to build hundreds of new homes.

The authority was challenged by the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) after it gave the go-ahead for 200 homes on land north of Ravenswood House, Mayles Lane, Knowle, in March.

UHS argued that it had provided representations to the council that if the application was given the go-ahead a financial contribution should be made to the trust to provide services needed by the occupants of the new development.

The trust provided a number of previous and similar appeal decisions which it considered essential and requested £40,588 from the scheme.

However, the trust’s requests which were deemed “self-promoting” by the council were ignored in its decision, and an officer’s report said: “Certainly the lack of addressing the financial claim made by the trust would not (and have not in the past on other major development schemes) necessitated the development being considered unacceptable.”

But the High Court disagreed and sided with UHS, concluding that the authority “failed properly to consider and to address the material conclusions reached in those previous appeal decisions”.

A spokesperson for University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have been in discussion with the council for some time regarding the significant impact of new housing developments on NHS services given the fact no additional government funding is made available to help meet the increased demand this brings.

“While the eventual need for legal action was regrettable, we are pleased council members will now have an opportunity to consider whether or not housing developers should make a financial contribution towards the additional pressure placed on local NHS services.”

And greater repercussions were dealt to the scheme submitted by Homes England as planning permission was quashed, with calls for the application to now go before the council’s planning committee as the previous plan was solely approved by officers.

The city council said: “Winchester City Council is reassessing this application following the receipt of legal representation from University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. We remain in dialogue with all relevant parties ahead of a formal planning decision.”

A Homes England spokesperson added: “We are disappointed with this decision and the delay it will cause, however, we are hopeful for a resolution where outline planning consent will be re-granted later this year.”

As part of the application land along the River Meon and the Knowle Triangle was due to be handed over to Wickham Parish Council for community use but according to parish councillor Therese Evans this has been left in limbo.

She added: “The parish council were looking forward to the completion of this matter.”

As chairman of the city council’s planning committee Cllr Evans said that the challenge from UHS came in “right at the last minute” and it was a “very unusual event” for a case to be brought on such matters.

If the application is given the go-ahead the site will be marketed to find a developer to deliver the homes, 40 per cent of which are expected to be affordable.

It is also planned to incorporate associated access, landscaping, parking and open space.