Appellants win costs over rejection of park homes

Compliance with the development plan has led to approval of a mixed-use redevelopment scheme at a Cornwall holiday park, with costs awarded against the council.

The scheme included redevelopment of existing holiday lets for 38 dwellings and a leisure and office building. The appeal site lay outside a settlement boundary but within walking and cycling distance of a wealth of services and facilities. The council refused the proposal on the grounds of a lack of contributions towards education and a special area of conservation. However, the officers’ report indicated that the site’s brownfield status overcame any locational concerns and the proposal was acceptable in adopted local plan policy terms in this respect.

A further almost identical application was subsequently approved subject to a condition restricting the units to holiday accommodation because of the site’s location outside the settlement, with the council repeating the same arguments. In allowing the appeal, the inspector noted that the council had already approved unrestricted residential use at the holiday park in previous decisions and the site was within easy reach of facilities, subject to an improved footpath. The site’s previously developed status made the scheme policy-compliant overall, he concluded.

Partial costs were awarded against the council for unreasonable behaviour in introducing a further reason for refusal at the appeal stage. The inspector held that the two applications, which were essentially the same, had been determined inconsistently. He found that circumstances had not materially changed between the two decisions and the view that the site was a sustainable location for open-market housing was consistent with previous decisions, made under the same local plan policies, to allow the removal of holiday let occupancy restrictions at the site.

He saw no procedural reason why the applicant could not resubmit the proposal and appeal against the refusal. However, because of the inconsistency in decision-making and the introduction of effectively a further reason for refusal at the appeal stage, he held that the applicants had been put to additional expense in responding to the further matters raised. 

Inspector: David Wyborn; Written representations

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