MORE than £19,000 of taxpayers’ money has been forked out after North Devon Council refused two planning applications.
The Planning Inspectorate decided the district council had wrongly refused applications at Hele Business Park and Mullacott Cross Industrial Estate.
The first was submitted by Rawle Gammon and Baker Holdings Ltd (RGB) in February 2012 for a builder’s merchant depot building and parking.
A previous application was refused due to traffic issues.
Following this RGB proved an established storage and distribution use existed on the site, meaning no extra traffic would be generated.
But the council refused the second application in April 2012, saying that it would cause a danger to road users.
The applicant successfully appealed the decision.
The inspectorate said the highway authority maintained there would be no extra traffic generated by the site.
The inspectorate’s report said: “This, in my view, was a clear shift in its position despite its original recommendation that the proposed development should be refused, on which the council relied entirely.”
An award for costs was made and £11,809 paid to RGB.
The second application was for a wind turbine at Mullacott Cross, submitted by Industrial & Community Wind Generation Ltd.
Unconditional permission was granted in October 2011 for a 53.88 metre turbine at the site.
An application to vary this to a larger turbine was then submitted, as recommended by planning officers, in April 2012.
But the application was refused due to noise and shadow flicker.
An appeal was lodged on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.
The appeal statement said: “Committee members spent most of the meeting arguing amongst themselves as to how the community benefit package should be split between the various wards and parishes involved.”
Costs were awarded and £7,491.60 paid to Mr NicholasCurtis.
Both applicants declined to comment.
Mike Edmunds, district councillor for Ilfracombe, said: “They should have refused the Hele one because I think the junction is not sufficient to take any more traffic.
“It was unfortunate the appeal went against the council.
“But I was surprised the council turned down the turbine at Mullacott, having approved the original application.
“They went against the advice of the planning officers, so I feel the appeal was correct.”
North Devon Council response:
In relation to the application at Hele Business Park, Mike Kelly, the council’s planning manager, said: “The second application was refused solely on highway grounds as recommended to North Devon Council by Devon County Council as Local Highway Authority.
“However, following the decision the applicants were granted a Certificate of Lawful Use for the site which the county council advised and overcame its highway objections.
“In response to this advice North Devon Council invited the applicants to withdraw the planning appeal to save time and expense. However, the applicants declined, so not surprisingly the appeal was allowed.”
Speaking about the turbine at the Mullacott site he added: “The decision to refuse the application followed a full discussion at Planning Committee. The outcome of that debate was to refuse the application having particular regard to parish council and resident’s concerns.
“In all cases where an application is refused the applicant has the right of appeal so the decision to exercise that right was not unusual or unexpected. The appeal decision reflected the views of the appointed inspector and was determined on its individual merits.”