Campaigner wins fight to block Cumbria brewery redevelopment

A local campaigner has won a High Court battle to block plans for the redevelopment of a former brewery in Ulverston, Cumbria, into a supermarket and office building.

Gillian Hughes, who is a member of campaign group, Keep Ulverston Special, and who lives just 200 metres from the site, took on South Lakeland District Council and won.

A High Court judge has quashed the planning permission granted by the council for the scheme. He has ordered the council to reconsider the application to demolish buildings and redevelop the site of the former Hartley's Brewery in the town.

In doing so he said he did not consider that the council’s "screening opinion" on environmental impact, required by European regulations, "provided clearly and precisely the full reasons for (at best an implied) conclusion that they are not likely to lead to a significant environment impact".

But he said that although the screening opinion was "legally unsound", he said that he would not have quashed the decision on that ground.

However, he went on to find that the council had also failed to apply the statutory presumption in favour of the "desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance" of a conservation area.

He found that a planning officers' report and the decision based upon it were "flawed", and that this could have made a difference to what was a narrow decision by council members.

He added: "The whole issue of harm to and preservation of the heritage assets constituted by the Old Brewery was a major part of the planning debate. Given that, and the fact of a bare majority voting to grant permission, it is quite impossible to say that even with the application of the presumption, the result would have been the same. The permission must therefore be quashed on this ground."

R on the Application of Hughes v South Lakeland District Council. Case Number: CO/17269/2013


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