Friday, 25 July 2014

Does a Norfolk planning appeal decision have implications here?

A planning appeal, where permission for a sand and gravel quarry in Norfolk was rejected, has thrown up a couple of matters we should bear in mind here:

Firstly, it would seem that the NPPF and new planning policy guidance has, if anything, made it more difficult for operators to win ad-hoc planning permissions for quarrying using a shortfall in landbank reserves as an argument, if the site in question does not form part of a Minerals Plan. As this Planning Resource article summarises:
An inspector noted, however, that the national planning policy framework and the planning policy guidance published in March 2014 strongly supported a plan-led system and a move away from a landbank based on regional apportionment. Annual monitoring reports played an important role in warning of a possible disruption of supply and any shortfall should be addressed through an immediate revision of the development plan and not by the granting of ad hoc permissions.
Secondly, the appeal highlights the importance of paying due regard to listed buildings and their settings, following Judgement in the case of Barnwell Manor Wind Energy vs. East Northamptonshire District Council, English Heritage & others. As the planning inspector noted:
15. ...This Judgement reinforces the obligation evinced by s.66(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (s.66), which requires the decision maker to “….have special regards to the desirability of preserving the building or it’s setting…”. The Court held that considerable importance and weight should be given to the desirability of preserving the setting of Listed Buildings, when carrying out the balancing exercise, adding that this duty applies with particular force if harm would be caused to the setting of a Grade I Listed Building.
How is all this relevant here?

Firstly, Aggregate Industries will want to apply for permission to quarry Straitgate Farm whether the site is in Devon’s Minerals Plan or not; the Norfolk ruling would indicate difficulty for AI if it is not.

Secondly, the Barnwell Manor case reinforces the importance of listed buildings AND their settings. Here we have not only Grade II listed Straitgate Farm itself, but also Grade I listed Cadhay Manor, and its mediaeval fishponds - directly fed from a watercourse originating at Straitgate Farm.