DC Casebook: Housing: new build - Rail link contribution demand resisted

A reporter has determined that the developer of a house in the Scottish Borders should not be obliged to make a financial contribution to a new rail link.

The council had adopted a local plan policy referring to an act of parliament supporting construction of the line and infrastructure. The policy required any development that might benefit from or be enhanced by the link to make a financial contribution towards its construction. It identified a number of postcode areas where development was likely to benefit from the railway. The appeal site fell in one of these.

The appeal site lay 15km from a proposed railway station and 25km from the nearest large town at Galashiels. The station lay in the wrong direction for somebody travelling to Edinburgh, the reporter reasoned. It was illogical to assume that occupants of the house would drive to it when they could drive directly to the city and save both time and mileage, he held. They might be more likely to use the station for trips to Galashiels but the benefits would be slight because it was only another 10km down the line, he added.

In his opinion, the occupants would not benefit from railway improvements. Payments should not be extracted unless there is a clear link between a proposal and a particular infrastructure project, he reasoned. He recognised that lack of a contribution was contrary to council policy but saw sound reasons for departing from it in this case.

DCS Number 100-064-667

Reporter Trevor Croft; Written representations.

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