Ian Dove QC of No5 Chambers, acting for the Appellant – Persimmon Homes (Wessex) Ltd, has succeeded in appealing a decision of Wilshire Council in which it refused outline planning permission on an application to extend the time limits of a planning permission granted by the Council in 2005.
As a result of the economic downturn, in 2010 the government issued guidance entitled “Greater Flexibility for Planning Permissions” which provisions for time extensions for already existing planning permissions, thereby making it easier for planning authorities and developers to keep permissions alive for longer.
Under this guidance, consideration must be given to any significant change since the original grant. In relation to Biss Farm it was agreed that no such change had been made to the Development Plan however there existed dispute as to material considerations and whether there were implications arising out of the promulgation of the NPPF.
At the heart of the Council’s contention was the unacceptable adverse impact it suggested that the development would have on the highway network. They relied on measures that were present when planning permission was granted as far back as 1998. The Inspector found that these have since been deemed ‘obsolete’. The inspector accepted the findings of the Transport Assessment, rebutting concerns about credibility by commenting that it was a ‘comprehensive investigation resulting in a “very robust” assessment’ and concluding that the local highway network could accommodate the predicted traffic flows associated with the proposed employment development without any adverse impact.
In light of the presumption, in para 14 NPPF, for sustainable development, the inspector concluded that proposals which accord with the Development Plan, which this one did, should not be subject to delay and since no material changes had been evidenced since the 2005 approval, outline planning permission was granted.
Permission was granted subject to 15 conditions including issues relating to sewage, floorspace, flooding, access and the production of an ecological report.
Mr Dove QC sought and obtained for his clients an award of costs based on the Council having acted unreasonably. This was largely in its failure to heed the recommendations of relevant and competent professionals and its further failure to justify a departure therefrom.
For the Appellant (Persimmon Homes (Wessex) Ltd)
Ian Dove QC: Counsel
Instructing Consultants: Pegasus