The appellants sought to double the number of birds processed at the farm. As part of the proposal, they offered to prevent recommencement of previous activities on an adjacent site historically used as a logistics depot, and now in their ownership, through a condition. They maintained that traffic flows from the logistics site had been higher, at 140 HGV movements a day, than the 125 HGV movements that would be generated by the expanded poultry unit.
The inspector found that the proposed increase in the scale of production at the appeal site would harm highway safety because of substandard road junctions nearby and would harm local residents’ living conditions through noise and disturbance from HGV movements, especially at night. However, he also found compelling evidence that the adjacent site could be lawfully used in the future as a logistics depot without any restriction on the number or size of vehicles and that this was a realistic proposition if the appeal scheme was refused.
Because this prospective harm could be mitigated to an extent by conditions, he found that the appeal scheme’s drawbacks were outweighed by its considerable benefits to the local economy through the creation of 90 extra full-time jobs and £101 million in contributions to the local economy.
Full costs were awarded against the council for failing to substantiate its reasons for refusing the scheme, thus causing the applicant to incur unnecessary expenses in pursuing the appeal. In his view, the council’s reasons for rejecting officers’ advice to approve the proposal appeared to be based on anecdotal accounts from local residents, rather than empirical evidence regarding historic use of the adjacent site or proper regard to a realistic fallback position.
Inspector: Hywel Wyn Jones; Hearing