Appeal cuts £300k off highway costs

David McCourt

The cost of highway works demanded by Bolton Council for a business development was reduced at appeal.

The original figure of £320,000 was reduced to £20,000 following the successful conclusion of an enforcement appeal lodged by Maze Planning Solutions. A decision was made on 30 November 2012 following a hearing held on 6 November.

The Stotts Park development in James Street was built by demolition firm Forshaw and asbestos contractor Malrod Insulations for their own occupation.

The local authority had required road widening and junction improvements under a planning condition but the associated costs were significant. The council considered that the works outlined in the approved scheme were necessary due to the additional movements of large vehicles from the development.

Forshaw and Malrod were unable to reach a negotiated solution and Bolton Council took enforcement action when the highway works were not done.

The planning inspector, Peter Willows, accepted that the lesser works proposed by the appellants would deal adequately with HGV traffic associated with their developments, and concluded that the Council's preferred scheme was flawed in its rationale and the outcome it would achieve.

In his report Willows noted: "Weighing up all of these matters I conclude that the appellants' revised proposal is an adequate and proportionate response to the issues the disputed planning condition sought to address.

"Accordingly, the road safety aims of the Council's adopted Core Strategy, which are concerned with safety and accessibility respectively, would not be compromised by a requirement to implement the appellants' scheme in lieu of the approved scheme."

A council spokesman said: "One of the conditions of the planning consent granted in 2007 was the requirement to undertake essential road safety work.

"After considerable negotiation and no work taking place, the council issued the company with an enforcement notice to resolve the matter, which was causing significant local concern.

"The company argued that the nature of their business on the site had changed and that a reduced number of HGV movements to and from the site meant they could now protect all other road users with a scheme that would involve less road safety measures.

"Although the council disagreed with this view, the Planning Inspector decided in favour of the developer. The developer will now have to ensure that this work is now completed."

Alan Davies of DTPC provided highway advice, and Lewis Denton of Dyne Solicitors provided legal support to Forshaw and Malrod for the appeal. Andrew Watt at Maze Planning Solutions acted on behalf of Forshaw and Malrod Insulations.

Graham Langley, principal transport planner, Bolton Council, and Alex Allen, principal development officer, Bolton Council, also attended the hearing.

  • A full copy of Peter Willows' appeal decision can be found here

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