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Council told to pay costs of neighbouring authority on planning appeal

A planning inspector has ordered Wyre Borough Council to pay part of the costs that its neighbour Blackpool Borough Council incurred in a planning appeal that resulted from a dispute between the two.

Blackpool applied to build 330 homes on an undeveloped site it owned in Wyre at Poulton-le-Fylde.

Wyre rejected this contrary to an officer’s recommendation on grounds of the project’s expected impact on local roads.

Planning inspector Andrew McGlone granted Blackpool’s appeal against the refusal, which he said turned on whether the development would result in an unacceptable highway safety impact at a nearby junction.

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He said the development would “help to significantly boost the supply and mix of housing in Wyre [and] result in social and economic benefits to the local economy”.

It might cause additional traffic, but taking into account the package of highway measures proposed would not prejudice road safety or highway users.

Mr McGlone said: “Hence, it would not cause an unacceptable impact on highway safety or cause a severe residual cumulative impact on the road network. Therefore, the proposed development would accord with the development plan as a whole and there are no other considerations, including the Framework, that indicate that I should take a different decision other than in accordance with this.”

Blackpool claimed there had been unreasonable behaviour by Wyre over when information about traffic impacts was released.

Mr McGlone said that in the year between refusing planning permission and submitting its statement in the appeal process, Wyre commissioned modelling traffic and by “sometime in March at least” would have been fully aware of its case and the evidence underpinning it.

He added: “It was unreasonable to not share or provide data that was subsequently requested by [Blackpool] on 7 April 2022 either at the time when the council’s statement was submitted or ahead of this given that the two parties were engaged on highway matters.”

The result was that Wyre’s submission of new technical evidence without meaningful dialogue about the intentions behind that model or its conclusions, meant Blackpool incurred extra time and expense in responding at a late stage.

“This could have either been avoided or the applicant could at least have been adequately forewarned,” Mr McGlone said.

He concluded that unreasonable behaviour by Wyre caused unnecessary or wasted expense, and so made a partial award of costs Blackpool’s favour, with the total to be determined.

Mark Smulian

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