I opened my first file on this project back in May 2014. Nearly three years later, we have an initial decision after the South Planning Committee agreed by five votes to four to approve the scheme. The scheme can’t yet be approved. There are a few more steps take, including endorsement from the secretary of state for communities.
Secretary of state approval
This is a large out of town supermarket that is being approved contrary to the local plan, which does not allocate this site for a retail complex. That means that the South Planning Committee decision must be approved by central government. Sajid Javid, the secretary of state for communities, may simply sign off the planning committee’s decision. Alternatively, he may decide to call the decision in and hold a planning inquiry before deciding. This is known as a “call in”. It is up to the secretary of state whether to call an application in. Objectors who want a call should contact the planning casework unit, see below. Many also lobby their local MP (email@example.com)
If an inquiry is held, a planning inspector will hear the evidence in public and make a recommendation to the secretary of state. Ministers have the right to take a different opinion to the planning inspectorate and frequently do.
If Sajid Javid approves the application, it will be subject to a reserved matters application. This will set out the details of the scheme.
Planning officers told the committee that they thought the proposed layout unsuitable. The revised plans “continue to provide a harsh high barrier to the properties on Rocks Green Crescent and the loss of the majority of the landscaping on the A49 and A4117.” However, “officers remain of the opinion that a different layout could be achieved which moves the store and service yard further from the existing dwellings and also retains the existing landscaping along the A49.”
This will be resolved in discussions between Shropshire Council planners and Blackfriars Property Group. The details will then go back to the South Planning Committee for final approval.
Should Sajid Javid reject the application, the only option that Blackfriars will have is to challenge the decision in the high court. A judicial review examines the process, not the decision. If the court decides the planning inspectorate or the secretary of state got the process wrong, the decision is quashed and the inquiry restarted.
Calling in a planning application
Call in requests should go to the National Planning Casework Unit as soon as possible. NPCU, 5 St Philips Place, Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2PW. 0303 444 8050. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The House of Commons Library has published a briefing on calling in a planning application.