Wed, 15 Apr 2020
Paul Cairnes QC and Oliver Lawrence have succeeded in appealing the refusal of planning permission by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council. The No5 barristers represented Liberty Property Trust UK at the inquiry into the successful appeals, backed by a very strong team from Avison Young, Knight Frank, Tetlow King Planning and Huskisson Brown Associates.
The sites in question are located in the commercial quarter of Kings Hill, an 800 acre renowned mixed-use development, and allocated for employment use. Redevelopment for non-employment uses was expressly prohibited by the development plan. The Inspector noted that the sites had been vacant for some time but found that there was still a reasonable prospect of the sites coming forward for their allocated use.
Nonetheless, the Inspector found that the adverse impacts of granting permission did not outweigh the benefits in circumstances where the Council could not demonstrate a 5 Year Housing Land Supply. The contribution to the supply and mix of housing in the Borough was held to be a substantial benefit. The proposed level of affordable housing was also held to significantly add to this benefit, despite it being required by development plan policy.
The Borough have recently confirmed that they will not be challenging the appeal decisions, which collectively stand as an example of how acute housing need can outweigh a clear conflict with development plan policies in the planning balance.
The decision represents another successful outcome for Kent County Council and Liberty Property Trust UK who have been in a successful public/private development partnership with regard to Kings Hill for over three decades.
The Appeal Decisions can be viewed HERE