Casebook: Appeal case - Commercial and industrial - Firework store backed despite safety concerns

The retention of buildings used to store fireworks at a former airfield in Lincolnshire has been approved despite concerns about the safety of storing explosives close to a school and houses.

The buildings had formerly been used by the RAF to store bombs and ammunition and were individually sited between substantial earth bunds. They were protected by barbed wire, alarms and closed-circuit television cameras.

The appellants explained that the site was licensed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for fireworks storage under explosives legislation.

They said that the HSE took into account a range of factors before deciding to grant a storage licence, including security, the type of buildings used and methods of deterring unauthorised entry. The inspector agreed that the site was sufficiently secure to store fireworks and ruled that the HSE licensing regime would adequately safeguard neighbouring occupiers' amenity and security.

In allowing the appeal, he made a partial award of costs in favour of the appellants. He found that the council had failed to take the advice of its officers, who had said that the issue of public safety had been properly addressed by the HSE. The authority had acted unreasonably in refusing permission on this ground, he decided.

DCS No: 100039455; Inspector: John Murray; Hearing.

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