Judge upholds inspector's dismissal of 330 homes on air quality grounds

A judge has backed an inspector's decision to dismiss plans for up to 330 homes in Kent over air quality concerns, despite the local council not having objected on air quality grounds when it considered the application.

High Court: planning inspector's decision upheld by judge
High Court: planning inspector's decision upheld by judge

Appellant Gladman Developments lodged an appeal after it was refused planning permission for the development off London Road in Newington by Swale Borough Council last year.

The site lay within a designated air quality management area (AQMA), but the council did not object to the proposals on air quality grounds.

However, rejecting Gladman’s appeal in January, the planning inspector said the development would have "at least a moderately adverse impact on air quality" in the area.

That would have "a significant adverse effect on human health" and Gladman had not proved that its proposed mitigation methods would be effective, the inspector maintained.

Gladman challenged the inspector's decision before the High Court, arguing that he had set the bar too high and misinterpreted national planning policies.

But Mr Justice Supperstone said the likely effectiveness of measures designed to mitigate nitrogen dioxide levels in the area was "a live issue" before the inspector.

He was required to reach his own conclusions on that issue, and had done so on the evidence, the judge held.

Gladman knew the case that it had to meet in respect of the air quality issue and had suffered no unfairness, the judge added.

The developer's appeal against the inspector's refusal of planning permission was dismissed.

Gladman Development Limited v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Anr. Case Number: CO/873/2017

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