Council faces costs order over highway objections

A Lincolnshire council has been ordered to pay full costs to a developer after an inspector overturned its decision to refuse outline permission for 400 homes.

The appeal site was to be included within a village settlement boundary and allocated for 400 dwellings in a well advanced emerging local plan facing no unresolved objections. Adopted local plan policies were out of date and, in the absence of a five-year supply of housing land, the inspector applied the NPPF presumption in favour of sustainable development.

The council’s objections related to highway matters. The first of these was whether a proposed site access incorporating a drop-off area and pedestrian crossing for the 2,000-pupil school opposite would compromise highway safety. The inspector acknowledged that current traffic problems arose from existing ad hoc school drop-off and pick-up arrangements and found technical evidence to support the proposed improvements. The lack of a technical foundation for refusal and the council’s failure to defer a decision to investigate highway safety in more detail led him to find its behaviour unreasonable.

The second main issue focused on whether the proposal should safeguard land for a possible link road. The inspector found only a tentative case for a link road in the council’s highway strategy and decided that this did not provide the necessary level of policy support to outweigh the more advanced emerging plan housing allocation. In his view, this reason for refusal had not been substantiated.

Inspector: Jonathan Price; Written representations

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