On 23 September 2016 the Secretary of State granted outline planning permission on appeal for 420-440 homes at Sty Lane and Micklethwaite Lane, Bingley. Paul G Tucker QC and Constanze Bell acted for the successful Appellants.
The main issues at the public inquiry were: the implications for highway safety and the free flow of traffic; the effect on Heritage Assets; the effect on the character and appearance of the area; deliverability; consistency with Government policies and consistency with the development plan.
The Inspector found that the Objector’s case was ‘intellectually bankrupt’. The Inspector recorded that the Objector’s planning witness’s position that he was not opposing the principle of development of the application site only this particular development “starkly underpins the intellectual bankruptcy of GAG’s [the Objector’s] case. This site has been recognised as in principle acceptable for development for over a decade and now Bradford’s need for housing is acute and chronic. In these circumstances the decision maker requires especially compelling reasons to accede to GAG’s case…”
In relation to the Objector’s Highways Witness’s criticism of average trip rates rather than 85th percentiles the Inspector found that the witness “was indulging in advocacy, not evidence“. On the question of junction performance and distribution during emergency operations the Objector’s Highways Witness accepted in cross examination by Paul G Tucker QC that the assumption that led to the Objector’s assessed distribution was “preposterous”.
The Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector’s conclusions on the planning balance and found that: “Overall, therefore, while acknowledging the harm to designated and non-designated HAs and the limited adverse impact the proposal would have on the operation of the highway network, the character and appearance of the area and biodiversity interests, the Secretary of State concludes that the substantial social and economic benefits associated with this scheme significantly and demonstrably outweigh that harm”.
To view a copy of the decision click here