The Court today handed down judgment in R.(oao James Hall and Company Limited) v City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council and Co-Operative Group Limited  EWHC 2899 (Admin).
Killian Garvey, instructed by Shoosmiths solicitors, acted for the Claimant in challenging the Council’s grant of planning permission. Philip Robson acted for the Defendant Council.
Her Honour Judge Belcher found for the Claimant on all three grounds of challenge. In doing so, the Learned Judge clarified a number of important points concerning heritage policies.
The Site was within the setting of the Haworth Conservation Area, albeit not within the Conservation Area itself. Thus, it was agreed that the duty within s.72(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 did not apply, but national and local policy concerning the setting of heritage assets did apply. In this context the Court made the following points.
Firstly, the Court held that there are only three gradations of harm in heritage terms:
The Court went on to say that even limited or negligible harm was enough to fall within the bracket of ‘less than substantial harm’:
This is an important clarification of the law. It is not uncommon for heritage experts to acknowledge a heritage impact but then to seek to discount it as being irrelevant on the basis that it is a ‘negligible harm’. This judgment clarifies that even this level of harm is sufficient to engage the heritage paragraphs within the NPPF.
Secondly, the Court held that it was inappropriate for the Defendant Council’s officers to pre-determine the impacts on heritage assets and not include these judgements in the committee report.
A copy of the judgment is available to view here.
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