Housing off Bromfield Road – how to take part in the planning appeal

The deadline for new or additional written representations is 9 March 2015.

Tesni Properties has appealed the decision by Shropshire councillors to turn down a planning application for 215 homes off Bromfield Road and the A49 (13/03862/OUT). A three day planning inquiry will be held in the spring or summer (APP/L3245/W/14/3001117).

This post is for people interested in the planning appeal, whether they plan to take part, make their case in writing or just follow the process. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

Why was the planning application turned down?

The South Planning Committee gave the following reasons for rejecting the application:

The proposed development, through the close proximity and the associated dangers of the A49, River Corve and the railway, noise from road traffic and train movements, and the potential for an increased number of train journeys in the future would detract from the living conditions and be detrimental to the amenities and safety of residents. The site has poor accessibility and is considered to be an unsuitable location for residential development contrary to Policy CS6 Sustainable Design and Development Principles of the Council’s adopted Core Strategy and Paragraph 17 (point 4) of the NPPF. These adverse impacts would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits in terms of the site contributing to the supply of housing land in Shropshire.

The inquiry process

These are brief notes on the planning inquiry process. Full details are given in the planning inspectorate’s guide to taking part in inquiries.

Timing. Details of the timing and procedure are agreed between the planning inspectorate, Shropshire Council and the developer. The case officer writes to Shropshire Council giving initial details and timing (the letter).

Documentation. Shropshire Council loads relevant appeal documents onto its planning portal, including the planning application, specialist reports and letters of support and objection (15/02192/REF). The developer makes a statement on why it is appealing (appeal statement).

Written representations. The planning inspectorate asks for written representations. These might be new comments from people who have not previously commented on the scheme, or they might be additional comments. Your original objection or letter of support, if you made one, has been sent to the planning inspectorate. You may wish to strengthen the argument you made then, or repeat the main points. Your representations should be sent to the case officer Robin Cook: robert.cook@pins.gsi.gov.uk. The deadline is 9 March 2014.

Common ground. Shropshire Council and the developer will agree a statement of common ground – matters that are not subject to dispute.

Inquiry: procedure. Details of how the inquiry will run are in the planning inspectorate’s guide to taking part in inquiries. This appeal arises because councillors rejected the planning application against officers’ advice. For that reason, members of the South Planning Committee will take a major part in the inquiry. We have a meeting early in March to work out what our roles and main arguments will be.

Inquiry: taking part. At the inquiry, members of the public will have a right to speak. They might be questioned by the developer or a barrister acting for the developer. Members of the public, action groups or local councils can also take a leading role in the inquiry, calling and interrogating witnesses. This is known as Rule 6 status. If you want to be accredited under Rule 6, please contact the case officer, Robin Cook immediately. Please note that the planning inspector will not normally allow new evidence to be presented at the inquiry, unless all parties agree. So if you want to submit technical information, for example flooding or survey data, you should send it to Robin Cook by 9 March.

Inquiry: don’t be afraid. The planning inspectorate says: “Do not feel intimidated. The Inspector will not let anyone ask you hostile or unfair questions.” I agree. It can be a bit stressful attending an inquiry but it is also rewarding to know that you have done your best for the cause you believe in.

Avoiding confusion

Planning applications. Tesni made two planning applications for this site. The first application was submitted in September 2013 (13/03862/OUT). This was rejected by the South Planning Committee in July 2014. This is the application that is currently being appealed. The developer submitted a second near identical application in October 2014 (14/04455/OUT). This was thrown out by the South Planning Committee in February 2015. This application is not being considered during the current appeal.

Case numbers. There are two appeal references. Shropshire Council gives the case the reference 15/02192/REF. Use this number to find documents relating to the appeal on the Shropshire Council planning portal. The planning inspectorate has allocated the appeal reference APP/L3245/W/14/3001117. You must use this reference in all correspondence with the planning inspectorate. The last seven digits of this reference can be used to look up information about the appeal on the planning inspectorate website.