A HIGH Court judge has accused civic chiefs of "thwarting" a planning application for nine live-work hangar buildings at an airport.

Fareham Borough Council rejected Peter Day's proposal to build the homes at Solent Airport after preventing him from checking for the presence of badger setts.

But Mr Day sought a judicial review, which has found in his favour.

Mr Justice Lane has ruled that the council used its position as the airport's landowner to "thwart the proper operation of the planning process".

He said the reasons it gave for refusing to allow the survey to take place had no basis in law and were partly false.

READ MORE: Plan to create new search and rescue facility at Solent Airport

The judge added: "The claimant needed to provide a habitat survey/assessment concerning badgers when making its application to undertake development at the airport.

"The defendant refused to provide the claimant’s advisor with access to undertake the assessment.

"The lack of an assessment was one of the reasons the defendant refused the application.

Daily Echo: Solent Airport, formerly the Fleet Air Arm base HMS DaedalusSolent Airport, formerly the Fleet Air Arm base HMS Daedalus (Image: Fareham Borough Council)

"The defendant states that the 'decision to refuse access was mainly reached on the basis it would disrupt airport business'.

"I find this a wholly remarkable assertion. It is plain from e-mails that the airport manager had no concerns whatsoever that undertaking a badger survey would disrupt operations."

The judge accused the council of acting irrationally.

He added: "It is impossible to escape the conclusion that the defendant has simply not acted as a rational local authority should. It has put forward justifications for refusing to let the claimant inspect for badger activity which have no basis in law and which, in certain respects, are entirely spurious."

READ MORE: Owner of Hangar Homes starts legal action in row over Solent Airport

The leader of the council, Sean Woodward, said he was disappointed by the High Court's decision.

He added: "Although we took specialist advice to guide us as we moved through the legal process, the council accepts this judgement.

"We will make arrangements to allow access to the site so that the planning application, which is under appeal, can be progressed."

But the survey has already been carried out following the High Court judgement and no setts were found.

Mr Day accused the council of wasting time and taxpayers' money by "defending the indefensible".

"It is obvious the survey was used to stop the planning application from succeeding, which may now be overturned by a planning inspector on appeal," he said.