Council ordered to pay costs in transport tariff wrangle

A council in south Wales has been ordered by an inspector to pay an applicant's costs after it insisted on the payment of a transport tariff contribution, despite its soon-to-be-adopted Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedule carrying no charge for residential development in the area of the appeal scheme.

PINS: council ordered by inspector to pay applicant's costs
PINS: council ordered by inspector to pay applicant's costs

In a decision letter issued earlier this week, inspector Aidan McCooey upheld appellant Landare Investments Ltd’s appeal against Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council’s failure to determine its application for planning permission for a residential development of 77 homes.

According to the decision letter, the council resolved to grant outline permission subject to conditions for Landare’s application in September 2012. The resolution required that a planning obligation be entered into to provide a transport tariff payment, a contribution towards education provision and an element of affordable housing.

The appellant queried the need for the transport tariff payment and education contribution in the light of the impending introduction of CIL in the borough, according to the inspector’s note.

The council agreed that the education contribution was no longer necessary, but considered that the transport tariff payment should remain, warning in February 2014 that unless the obligation was executed as required, then the application would be disposed of. Members resolved to support the need for the transport tariff payment in March 2014, the inspector’s report said.

But the inspector ruled that the requirement for a transport tariff contribution should have been waived.

The council’s CIL charging schedule was submitted for examination in February 2014, before the decision in March 2014 to insist on the payment, the inspector said. The authority introduced CIL on 31 December 2014.

"This charging schedule and evidence to the CIL examination demonstrated that residential development in the northern part of the borough was not viable with any CIL and so the recommended rate was set at zero," the report said. "In these circumstances, to ask for viability evidence for a transport tariff on an individual site was unreasonable."

The inspector concluded that the council’s actions had caused the applicant to submit an unnecessary appeal. "The requirement for a transport tariff contribution should have been waived at that point because the council had its own evidence that any scheme for residential development in the area would not be viable with this contribution," the report said.


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