Sunday, 8 April 2012

Appeal against planning permission for IKEA?

Several people have suggested that objectors should appeal against the granting of planning permission for the IKEA store in Calcot. However, planning  appeals can only be made (by developers) against the refusal of permission, they cannot be made against the granting of permission.

Objectors could apply to the high court to ask for a judicial review, though this would be very expensive. They would have to prove that the council had acted illegally or against procedure. This would be very hard to do.

One possibility that I am exploring is whether to ask the Secretary of State to call the application in. He will only do this if he agrees that the development is a strategic issue or of more than local importance. If successful, the Secretary of State would order a public inquiry. At the end of the inquiry, the inspector who held the inquiry would recommend to the  Secretary of State whether planning permission should be granted or not. The  Secretary of State would make the final decision.

Information on calling in can be found at http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/pins/gpa_03.pdf. I believe that the application can still be called in because the planning committee did not actually grant permission. They delegated the approval to the Head of Planning and Countryside (a West Berks Council officer), subject to the completion of a legal agreement. This is normal and there is usually a delay before the agreement is signed.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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