Planning permission has been granted at Appeal for 46 apartments together with commercial floorspace on a brownfield site in Bury St Edmunds. Following a Public Inquiry Inspector Gareth Jones found that St Edmundsbury Council had acted unreasonably as it could and should have favourably determined the planning application prior to the appeal being lodged, and were ordered to pay the appellant’s full costs.
The council claimed that there were a number of matters which had delayed the determination of the application including objections from members of the public and questions concerning viability. Written feedback received by the appellant prior to them lodging the appeal did not suggest that the appeal scheme would be granted permission, yet following validation of the appeal the Council confirmed that had the appeal not been lodged they would have granted planning permission for the scheme. At this time the appellants request to hold the appeal in abeyance pending permission being granted on an identical proposal that had been submitted to the council was refused. Despite confirming that they would have granted permission if they were in a position to do so, the council failed to grant permission on the duplicate application thus denying the appellant the opportunity to withdraw the appeal.
Presented with a council who did not defend the appeal, alongside a considerable extent of common ground and a signed Unilateral Undertaking, the Inspector concluded that the development proposals should be approved without delay and full costs should be awarded to the appellant for the wasted expense incurred on the appeal process.
Stephen Hinsley, Senior Director at Tetlow King Planning, acting for the appellant, said:
“This well-designed scheme on a former gas works site in Bury St Edmunds will deliver much needed housing in line with the Government’s aim to boost housing supply and re-use previously developed land in a sustainable location. The council’s delay in determining the application was unnecessary and its unacceptable behaviour has been recognised by the Inspector who has determined that the Council shall pay the appellants full costs.”