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Walker Morris advises on greenfield residential development approved by the Secretary of State

Planning specialists at Walker Morris  have acted for Redrow Homes and Bellway Homes on a successful planning appeal for a large-scale residential development with associated infrastructure works on a significant greenfield site and near to the famous Bingley 5 Rise Locks in West Yorkshire.

Sajid Javid, the new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has granted outline planning permission for residential development and full planning permission for the infrastructure works, which include improved local junctions and a new automated vehicular and pedestrian swing bridge over the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.

The proposals include development of 420-440 dwellings, removal and replacement of an existing swing bridge over the Leeds Liverpool Canal, provision of new access-points, off-site highway works, provision of public open space, and associated landscaping. The Firm has been involved with the proposals for the site since inception, including the most recent application in January 2014.  Walker Morris provided specialist planning consultancy services, strategic planning advice and legal support throughout, particularly at the most recent eight-day public inquiry in October 2015.

The Inspector’s Report and Secretary of State’s decision letter grappled with several significant issues, including the effect of the proposed development on highway safety and traffic flow; likely impact on heritage assets; deliverability; consistency with policies on sustainable transport and housing; and potential effect on the area’s character and appearance.  Following the public inquiry, the Secretary of State has endorsed the Planning Inspector’s clear recommendation that permission be granted.

The decision letter issued from the Department for Communities & Local Government on 22 September 2016 noted:

“The Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector’s conclusions on the planning balance..The Secretary of State also gives considerable weight to the fact that, in terms of its economic, social and environmental dimensions and benefits, the proposal can be considered to be sustainable development”.

He went on to say that (in recognising the less than substantial harm to designated and non-designated heritage assets and limited adverse impact on the local highway network, character and appearance of the area and biodiversity interests)

“..I consider that the substantial social and economic benefits associated with this scheme significantly and demonstrably outweigh that harm.”     

The Head of the Planning Unit at Walker Morris , provided ongoing project management and acted as the lead planning consultant for the development.  Rob Moore, Director, provided legal and specialist strategic advice. Walker Morris said of the decision:

“This is an excellent outcome. The Secretary of State’s decision lends clear support to the Government’s focus on the importance of delivering much-needed market and affordable housing where the context is appropriate.   It is particularly pleasing in light of the diligent and hard-working professional and client teams and individuals who we worked with on this over a long period of time.  The outcome reflects all parties’ efforts in producing a heritage and landscape sensitive scheme that will deliver a substantial range of planning benefits and improvements to infrastructure.”

The Walker Morris LLP Planning Team was recently ranked in Tier 1 by the independent guide to the legal profession, Legal 500.