Two neighbouring sites for two different clients totalling 320 new homes, granted planning permission on appeal.
NJL Consulting had been working with Bloor Homes to promote a site off Blackpool Road in Kirkham, Lancashire for residential development since 2010. Initially working to secure an allocation in the new Local Plan, it quickly became obvious that the best route to success was an immediate planning application. In June 2012, an outline application for 140 homes was therefore submitted to Fylde Borough Council. Shortly afterwards, in October 2012, Gladman Developments submitted an outline application for 180 homes on a neighbouring site.
Both sites were agricultural fields outside the extent of the existing town of Kirkham. As a result, the two applications were refused by Fylde Borough Council on the basis that they were not appropriate for development and should only come forward as part of a larger, comprehensive scheme.
Because of the scale of the combined scheme, the two planning appeals were recovered by the Secretary of State for him to determine the applications himself following a public inquiry.
Both parties appealed the decision by Fylde Borough Council and due to the similarities between the two cases, it was agreed that a single appeal should be heard. To ensure consistency of argument, Gladman Developments instructed to NJL to act on their behalf in relation to those appeals.
NJL liaised with Counsel for both developers as well as the team of Expert Witnesses. NJL also prepared the required Statements for the appeal process and a Planning Proof of Evidence demonstrating why the proposals should be acceptable. The argument centred around the inherent sustainability of the sites and the Council’s inability to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.
During the appeal process, NJL worked hard to agree a Statement of Common Ground with Fylde Borough Council identifying the areas where the Council could accept that the proposals were acceptable. These efforts resulted in the Council concluding that the proposals were acceptable, and withdrawing from the planning appeal shortly before the public inquiry opened.
As the decision was to be made by the Secretary of State, the inquiry still had to take place, with NJL providing support throughout the proceedings. Permission was eventually granted for both applications in November 2013.