Bell Cornwell’s Exeter office has won an appeal which secures outline planning permission for five dwellings in Camelford, North Cornwall. Whilst at first glance this is a modest proposal, it provides a revealing story about how local planning authorities (Cornwall Council in particular) can act irresponsibly.
The appeal site lies outside of, but abuts, the town’s development boundary and is well related to existing dwellings and the town centre facilities. The application was presented clearly as a normal housing development in light of Cornwall Council’s inability to demonstrate a five year supply of housing and the NPPF presumption in favour of sustainable development. However, despite Bell Cornwell’s repeated efforts to confirm the basis for the application with clear national planning policy justification, Cornwall Council persisted in dealing with the proposal as an exception site; failing to take into account the lack of five year supply of deliverable housing sites and the approach to decision-making as set out in the NPPF, and refused the application without co-operating.
Bell Cornwell submitted a written representations appeal that reconfirmed to the Planning Inspectorate the basis for the application. The Inspector concluded that the proposal was not exceptions development and that the presumption in favour of sustainable development does indeed apply, meaning that planning permission should be granted. Not only was the appeal allowed, the Appellant was awarded full costs against the local planning authority due to its unreasonable behaviour that resulted in unnecessary and wasted expense.
It is unusual for an Appellant to be able to claim for costs given the burden of proof and, therefore, it is most telling that a full award was made, demonstrating the consequences to local planning authorities if they choose to act in an unco-operative and irresponsible manner.