Challenge to inspector's highway impact error unsubstantiated

An inspector's decision to refuse permission for a barn and revised access and uphold an enforcement notice has been supported by the High Court, a judge ruling that the challenge was unsubstantiated and without merit.

In dismissing the claimant’s appeal the inspector had relied upon evidence from the highway authority that the visibility splays at the revised access were inadequate and an increase in traffic movements would increase the risk of accidents. The claimant asserted that the inspector had used the wrong figures when making her assessment and should not have adopted the highway authority’s calculations. Nor was it correct that the scheme would lead to more traffic movements, the claimant argued.

Judge Ockelton Q.C. rejected all grounds of challenge. The inspector had throughout her decision letter referred to documents indicating the location of the proposed access and had been entirely justified in relying on the highway authority’s evidence. Dissent from her factual conclusions did not amount to a challenge under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. There were no alternative calculations supplied by the claimant and the fact that an existing access point was used without difficulty did not address the substandard nature of the revised access. Moreover, the claimant had stated in evidence that the proposed barn would mean that more labourers would be employed on site and it was therefore reasonable for the inspector to rule that this would lead to an increase in traffic movements.

Alderson v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government;

Date: 25 November 2014

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