The Court of Appeal has upheld a decision by Salford City Council that Peel L&P cannot build houses at Broadoak in Worsley, leading the developer to confirm it will pursue the long-running saga no further.
Salford city mayor Paul Dennett greeted the verdict warmly: “This is the third time Peel L&P has taken this to court and each time the council’s decision has been upheld. Each time it goes to court it wastes vital taxpayers’ money that could be much better spent on services that benefit local people.”
The original decision not to allow 600 homes and a marina on the land was made by Salford City Council in November 2013, but has been vigorously contested by the developer, as has a subsequent refusal for a smaller application within the Broadoak holding, for 165 homes.
Yesterday saw the Court of Appeal hand down a judgment that appears to be final, dismissing Peel’s challenge over whether the Secretary of State and the City Council were able to give full statutory weight to the Worsley Greenway policy EN2 within the saved Salford Unitary Development Plan.
In August 2019, the developer lost in the High Court, a defeat that followed a ruling by the Secretary of State the previous November. The greenfield site is a mixture of woods, meadows and open land and stretches from Monton Green to Worsley Road – described as a “green lung”, it is protected by policies in the city’s Unitary Development Plan.
Peel had argued that the national presumption in favour of sustainable development should apply and that the Worsley Greenway policy relating to non-Green Belt land could not be given full statutory weight for a number of reasons, including the time-expiry of the policy and its inconsistency with national policy.
The property company said it accepted the decision, but that it will continue to progress its investments and partnerships elsewhere in the city.
Phil Wilson, Peel L&P’s executive director for land, communities and home building, said: “We’re disappointed that our arguments have not been accepted about the need to develop the Broadoak site to help address Salford’s growing shortage of family and affordable homes.
“However, we recognise this has become a sensitive issue and, with the passage of time and other priorities, we have decided not to pursue the Broadoak legal case further. We look forward to focusing our efforts elsewhere in the city.”
“Our many investments in Salford have helped transform the city over the last three decades, bringing improved prosperity and wellbeing. We’re proud to be a partner with the City Council and others through projects at MediaCityUK, Port Salford, AJ Bell Stadium, the Bridgewater Canal and RHS Bridgewater.”
The argument has become a major cause at grassroots level, and for the council itself: following 2018’s High Court ruling, Dennett warned Peel that the affair was coming at a severe cost to the people of the city, the council having racked up £400,000-plus in legal expenses to that date.
Dennett concluded: “The decision of the council is also supported by the opposition party in Salford, local campaigners and residents, who have done a fantastic job in raising awareness and putting the case across.
“There is no doubt we need more homes in the city, but they need to be in the right places. We will not roll over and let developers build where they want and we must continue to do all we can to avoid planning by appeal, whilst also tackling the housing and homelessness crisis we’re facing.”