A JUDGE was yesterday cleared to hear a planning appeal when a second bid by developers to have him barred failed. Mutual Luck Investment claimed Mr Justice Litton's position as an appeal court judge disqualified him from remaining chairman of the Town Planning Appeal Board. Hong Kong law says public officers are not allowed to sit on the board. But Mr Justice Keith, ruling on the matter, said the Town Planning Ordinance did not intend this to include appeal court judges. He refused the application for judicial review by the development company and ordered it to pay costs. He said Mr Justice Litton was selected by the Governor as a suitable appointment as the first chairman of the appeal board panel because of his legal expertise and concern for the environment. Mutual Luck Investment, a subsidiary of Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong group, plans a luxury housing development at Fung Lok Wai, near Mai Po Marsh Nature Reserve. Its applications for planning permission had consistently been refused and it was appealing against these decisions. The company asked Mr Justice Litton to withdraw from the appeal because it felt he may not be seen to be impartial. His refusal was challenged in the High Court in May, but Mr Justice Leonard dismissed the application.