Planning inspector awards costs to Patcham developer

Posted On 02 Apr 2013 at 3:15 pm

An independent planning inspector has told a developer that he can build a detached house in Patcham after councillors turned down his planning application.

And the inspector ruled that Brighton and Hove City Council should pay the developer’s costs after he won his appeal.

Robert Holness can now put up the house in the grounds of a neighbouring property in Ladies Mile Road despite objections from neighbours and councillors.

Council planning officials had recommended that the Planning Committee grant Mr Holness permission but councillors voted against his proposed two-storey house.

The Planning Inspectorate said: “The main issue is the effect of the proposed dwelling on the living conditions of neighbours, particularly in terms of loss of sunlight and daylight, outlook and loss of privacy.”

The planning inspector, David Hogger, said that he did not consider that the proposed house would “significantly harm the living conditions of neighbours”.

He accepted that councillors were free to ignore the advice of officers if they gave reasons.

But he said that the council did not submit a statement supporting its decision to refuse Mr Holness planning permission.

He added: “The council has not adequately defended (its) case for refusal.

“Failure to substantiate a reason for refusal is an example of unreasonable behaviour and in this respect the council has failed.

“The council argues that it is unlikely that an officer would defend a decision that is contrary to their views.

“However, it is common practice for officers to speak on behalf of the council, prepare statements and produce evidence, even if they hold a different viewpoint to the elected members.

“Even if this approach could not be agreed, there are other means of ensuring that all the necessary evidence is submitted, for example, through the use of planning consultants or a councillor who has the necessary expertise.

“I therefore find that unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary expense has been demonstrated and that a full award of costs is justified.”

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