The site was included in a recently adopted allocations plan. The council had not made a decision on the application, which had drawn strong local opposition, but said it would have refused permission due to harm to ecology, specifically bats, and to highway safety arising from a narrow access onto the village high street. The inspector was provided with no evidence to contradict advice from specialists and Natural England that potential impacts on a special area of conservation could be adequately mitigated by planning conditions and obligations.
The council’s highways consultant, using swept path plots set out in county council guidance, questioned whether refuse collection vehicles or lorries would be able to turn safely into and out of the proposed site access. The appellant’s transport consultant showed that, given low traffic flows and speeds on the street, using the full width of the carriageway to perform turning manoeuvres would comply with the Department for Transport’s Manual for Streets.
The local highway authority confirmed that it was willing to consider proposals with a reasoned justification for departing from its guidance and did not object to the access arrangements. The inspector considered that compliance with national guidance provided the necessary justification for discounting highways objections. Subject to the imposition of appropriate planning conditions, he was satisfied that the proposals would not harm highway safety.
Inspector: Paul Singleton; Written representations