Appeal Ref: APP/L2820/A/12/2175451

Ian Dove QC, instructed by Pegasus Planning Group, delivered a victory for his client, Rothwell Land Ltd, in decision issued on 9th January 2013. 

Ian Dove led an appeal against the decision of Kettering Borough Council to refuse outline planning permission for the proposed development of a 24-hour truck stop facility on land off Orton Road in Rothwell. Shortly before the inquiry opened, a section 106 agreement was reached by the parties which caused the Council to withdraw their sole reason for refusing the application which centred on lack of the means to secure a scheme for restoration if the use ceased. Parish Councils and local residents maintained their objections. 

The Inspector addressed the main issues of the development’s impact on the character and appearance of the rural area and its compliance with the NPPF and CIL Regulations. The Inspector found that under s 38(6) of the 2004 Act the development was not in accordance with the development plan, however material considerations, namely need for the facility, outweighed non-compliance. The Northamptonshire HGV Parking Study (2009), with which the Inspector agreed, demonstrated, despite allegations by local residents of misinterpretation, a clear demand for at least the number of lorry parking spaces the development proposed to provide. It was evident that the development would help to increase road safety, help police to deal with indiscriminate lorry parking, and bring the identified stretch of the A14 in line with guidance in the DfT circular 01/2008.

Notwithstanding representations from local residents, the Inspector found there to be no substantiated evidence before her of any preferred alternative sites. 

The Inspector found that while the development would inevitably change the character and appearance of the countryside in this location, the landscape of the area has been assessed as having the capacity to accommodate a degree of change and the proposed development will produce a moderate magnitude of change. Overall the development was found to accord with the NPPF given the great weight placed on the need for sustainable development.

The s 106 agreement which was entered just prior to the opening of the inquiry, under which the owner of the truckstop would procure a bond for the anticipated costs of a restoration scheme for the site in the event that it has ceased to operate as a truck stop facility for a continuous period of 12 months before the end of the designated ‘restoration period’ of 3 years 6 months, was found compliant with s122 of the 2010 CIL Regulations.

Conditions were imposed regarding reserved matters.

Based on the overall need for the facility, having mind to the NPPF’s objectives, the lack of preferred alternatives and the presence of a CIL Regulations compliant s 106 agreement, the Inspector found for the Appellant and granted outline planning permission. 

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