Costs awarded against Fenland Council after successful appeal for new home
- Credit: Archant
Costs have been awarded against Fenland District Council following a successful appeal to build a new home in March.
Planning inspector Jennifer Vyse allowed the appeal and also gave costs to the applicant John Wallis.
The appeal was against refusal of a house to be built at Meadow Cottage, Causeway Close and part of the council’s objections were on highways grounds.
“The decision to refuse on highways grounds did not follow the advice of the highway authority, a statutory consultee,” concluded the inspector.
“Clearly, the council was not bound to follow that advice. At appeal, however, it is required to produce relevant evidence to support its decision.
“As acknowledged by the highway authority, and as recognised in my appeal decision, the geometry of Causeway Close and its junction with The Causeway are far from ideal.
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“I also recognise that whether or not there would be undue risk requires an element of judgement.
“In this case, however, notwithstanding identified shortcomings, the highway authority confirmed that there had been no reported accidents within the vicinity of the access intersection with the Causeway.”
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The inspector also noted that there was “insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the existing arrangements were unsafe.
“Or that the traffic movements associated with one additional dwelling would result in unacceptable harm in terms of the safe operation of the access”.
She said Mr Wallis had demonstrated that the council’s own Local Plan database showed that the proposed house would generate less than one additional two-way traffic movement per day.
“None of the figures relied on are challenged by any evidence produced by the council,” said the inspector.
“In fact, the council adduced no substantiated evidence to support its position, instead relying on assertion.
“It has not been demonstrated to me that there was sufficient evidence, technical or otherwise, to justify and substantiate the council’s reason for refusal.
“In failing to do so, the council’s behaviour has been unreasonable, as described in the practice guidance, causing unnecessary and wasted expense in terms of the submission of the appeal and a full award of costs is justified.”
Mr Wallis has been invited to submit his costs to the council “with a view to reaching agreement as to the amount”.