John Hunter recently appeared on behalf of Wyre Borough Council in an appeal against the refusal of outline planning permission for a new 200 dwelling retirement village in Catterall, Lancashire.

The main issues included the need for specialist accommodation for older people, the appropriateness of the site’s location for older persons’ housing, the effect of the development on the character and appearance of the area, and the impact of the development on the setting of a nearby listed building.

The inspector acknowledged the critical need to provide housing for older people (in line with recent changes to the Government’s Planning Practice Guidance), as well as the fact that large-scale development had been permitted on the other side of the A6 from the appeal site. Nevertheless, she agreed with the Council that the appeal site was not a sustainable location for this form of development due to the presence of the A6 as a significant barrier to movement, the location of bus stops and the unsuitability of proposed walking routes into the village, which was not adequately mitigated by the appellant’s offer of a time-limited minibus service. She also agreed with the Council that little weight could be attached to the claimed benefits of the scheme in terms of providing community facilities in the absence of detailed proposals or a satisfactory mechanism to ensure they would in fact be provided. In addition, she also agreed with the Council that, although in outline, the development was likely to be prominent and at odds with the character and appearance of its immediate surroundings. In conclusion, she dismissed the appeal finding that the adverse impacts of granting permission would clearly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits. The inspector’s decision can be found here.

This is the second time this year that John has appeared in an appeal relating to land in Catterall. Earlier in the year John acted for the appellant against the local planning authority in a successful appeal (and application for costs) against the Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for residential development on a part of the site on the other side of the A6 referred to above which was allocated for employment purposes. The appeal decision can be found here and the costs decision here.

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