Emery Planning have won on appeal outline planning permission for the construction of up to 9 dwellings on land at Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.
Whilst the site was not subject to any specific designations, it was identified as part of a wider area of amenity recreation greenspace in the Authority’s Green Space Strategy. Our justification for the proposal was the surplus of amenity recreation greenspace in Stoke-on-Trent and that the application offered an opportunity to enhance the wider area of open space. Emery Planning provided a qualitative assessment of the available green space within the authority, concluding the loss of the site would reduce the supply of amenity recreation greenspace in the south of the area by just 0.4%. We also submitted a indicative landscape / public realm improvement scheme prepared by Barnes Walker for the remaining percentage of the City Council owned public open space to the north of the site. The proposal was justified within the context of the National Planning Policy Framework and relevant Local Planning Policies.
Whilst recommended for approval by the case officer, the application was refused by the planning committee on the basis that the loss of public open space would have a significant and detrimental impact upon the local community and their access to local amenity space.
Emery Planning subsequently appealed the refusal on behalf of our client and submitted a cost claim against the council on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. The Inspector concluded the loss of public open space resulting from the appeal scheme would not have a detrimental impact on the local community and access to local amenity space, with the proposal complying with the development plan taken as a whole. Consequently, as there were no other material considerations that indicated the scheme should be determined otherwise than in accordance with the development plan, the appeal was allowed. A full award of costs was also allowed on the basis that the Council had failed to substantiate its reason for refusal, making vague and generalised assertions regarding the impact of the proposal and in doing so, had prevented or delayed a development which should have clearly been permitted having regard to its accordance with the development plan, national policy and other material considerations. The Inspector considered these actions to amount to unreasonable behaviour, which led to the applicant incurring unnecessary expense in the appeal process as set out in our award of costs case.
Emery Planning are currently preparing the costs claim on behalf of our client to reach an agreement with the Council on the costs to be awarded.