Ian Dove QC successfully appeals decision of East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Wed, 13 Mar 2013

In a decision published on 11 March 2013, Ian Dove QC’s appeal on behalf of his client Linden Homes was allowed and the decision of East Riding of Yorkshire Council to refuse planning permission for the erection of 141 homes and associated works overturned. The proposed development at Woodhall Way, Molescroft was refused by the Council for four reasons relating to prejudice to the emerging Local Plan; design objections to the layout; highway grounds; and insufficient provision for affordable housing. The Council conceded that it would not be defending the appeal on grounds of prejudice to the LP or affordable housing, and an agreement was reached in relation to highway works, which left design objections to the layout as the only ground of contention on behalf of the Council.
 
In considering the Council’s position and that of the local residents, the Inspector had to decide:
 
(i) the effect of the proposal on the character and quality of the locality, with particular reference to its scale and location, the extent to which it addresses flood risk and its impact on the local road network; and
(ii) whether the design of the proposal constitutes a sustainable form of development having regard to local and national policy aimed at achieving good design, especially in relation to the quality of the public realm and designing out crime.
 
In relation to the first issue the Inspector considered that despite the substantial scale of the proposal and the slightly higher density of houses per hectare (22 dwellings/hectare), compared to the existing typical density (18 dwellings/hectare) the varied layout, mix of housing styles and areas of open space would be in keeping with the generally high quality of the immediate environment.
 
Based on the Environment Agency’s findings, the Inspector found that in principle the development is not in conflict with the current national policy on flood risk. Contrary to the local residents concerns and submissions about the risk to Beverley, and in particular the appeal site, through groundwater emergence, the Inspector found that proposed design measures are sufficient to address the potential impact. The proposal was found to adequately address the run-off rate – being 2 l/s/ha, less than in the land’s current state (3.45 i/s/ha). 
 
Residents raised objection based on the local road network and the proposed access through Woodhall Wall. The Inspector dismissed these objections based on the Assessment and the lack of capacity problems on Woodhall Way; the measures suggested to mitigate the potential increase in traffic along St Leonard’s Road were deemed sufficient by the Inspector. 
 
In relation to the second issue, the Inspector found the Council’s submissions to be without merit, having mind to the Design and Access Statement. The submission that the direction in which some of the houses face gives rise to deficiencies, particularly in relation to the quality of the public realm and risk of crime, was not accepted and the Inspector found that the design to have no conflict with Local Plan policy D1 or with the relevant aspects of national policy or other guidance.
 
The Inspector imposed conditions along the lines suggested on, inter alia, commencement date, the provision of gates to alleyways, nature conservation, noise and parking. 
 
It was concluded overall that the proposed development would make a positive contribution to its surroundings and on balance the benefits outweigh any adverse effects. 
 
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