DC Casebook: In depth - Flood risk sequence view ruled out as pointlessly bureaucratic

An extension to a food store in Wiltshire has been allowed despite Environment Agency arguments that the proposed programme of works does not comply with national advice on flood risk.

The appellants sought permission to extend the existing car park into an area designated as functional flood plain. They proposed compensatory flood works beyond the car park, with storage tanks below ground to hold run-off. The agency claimed that to accord strictly with PPS25, planning permission should be granted for the compensatory works first, followed by a second permission for the car park extension.

The inspector decided that while PPS25 did not explicitly support the appellants' proposal to undertake the development as a single phase, it was not explicitly excluded. To dismiss the appeal solely on this ground would generate two applications and lead to a pointless bureaucratic exercise that would postpone the scheme with no planning benefit, he remarked. The agency's acceptance that the compensatory works would deal with the risk of flooding supported the grant of permission, he decided.

With regard to the impact on local residents' living conditions and the setting of the town's conservation area, the inspector noted that the appellants had undertaken a noise assessment which demonstrated that levels would fall within acceptable limits. Vapour from an enlarged filling station could also be controlled, he ruled.

Since there would be few public glimpses of the extended store, he judged that the impact on the conservation area would be acceptable. Although the development would improve shopping facilities, he decided that this would benefit the operator and shoppers rather than improving the viability of the town as a whole.

Inspector: David Nicholson; Inquiry

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