Farcet Parish Council contacted Huntingdonshire Planning department regarding the recent decision to refuse the planning application as it made no reference to the concerns raised by residents and the Parish Council, in particular access and highways safety, traffic generation, noise and disturbance, pollution from run off and disturbance from smells.
The following response was received:
The concerns raised by residents and the Parish Council on access and highway safety, traffic generation, noise and disturbance, pollution from run off and disturbance from smells were carefully considered by the Council in consultation with statutory and non statutory consultees. These matters are addressed in the accompanying Delegated Report that I attach for your information. The decision notice lists only the reasons for refusal, so it makes no mention of these issues because they did not form reasons for refusal.
I do appreciate that substantial public concern was expressed over the highway safety, pollution, and noise and odour impacts of the proposed Poultry Farm, and why disappointment is expressed that the application was not refused for those reasons. However there are good reasons why the application was not refused for those reasons, which I will explain.
As a basis for decision making, the Council is required to determine planning applications on the evidence available and on an objective analysis of the impacts of a development. In this case, expert consultees advised the Council that the highway and pollution impacts of the development would be acceptable or could be made acceptable through planning conditions that control or limit the development.
In terms of highway safety and traffic generation, no objections were raised by Highways officers at the District Council and County Council. The reasons for this are explained in the Delegated Report.
In terms of noise and disturbance, pollution from run off and disturbance from smells, the proposed Poultry Farm would require an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) permit from the Environment Agency in order to operate. This is a separate process that should not be duplicated by the planning process. In deciding whether to grant an IPPC permit, the Environment Agency will consider these impacts. The purpose of the permitting regime is to place the highest levels of protection on the operation of the proposed Poultry Farm to safeguard the occupiers of nearby properties and the environment during operation. This means that even if an appeal was allowed by a Planning Inspector, the proposed Poultry Farm could not lawfully operate without an IPPC permit from the Environment Agency. No objections were raised by the Environment Agency or the District Council’s Environmental Health Officers. The reasons for this are explained in the case officer’s report.
The Council is not duty bound to agree with the advice given by consultees, but it would need compelling evidence of its own to depart from, and outweigh, the advice given by expert consultees. In the case of this application, whilst there was substantial public concern over the impacts of the proposed Poultry Farm, the Council has no substantive evidence of its own to demonstrate at an appeal, that the proposal would have unacceptable impacts on highway safety, noise, pollution from run-off or odour. Therefore it could not reasonably depart from the advice given by consultees and refuse permission on these grounds. To do so would likely lead to these reasons for refusal being dismissed as unfounded by a Planning Inspector and such unreasonable behaviour would leave the Council liable to pay the applicant’s costs in challenging an appeal on these reasons.
In terms of the reasons for refusal summarised on the Decision Notice, I can advise that a flood risk “sequential test”, if properly undertaken will likely demonstrate that alternative sites are available at a lower risk of flooding for the development in the area it is intended to serve. The other 2 reasons for refusal are capable of being addressed by an amended application and submission of a legal agreement to pay the contribution to provision of wheeled bins.