QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
(Sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court)
| THE QUEEN
on the application of
HELFORD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LIMITED
|- and -
|KERRIER DISTRICT COUNCIL
Robin Green (instructed by John Ball, Kerrier District Council) for the Defendant
Hearing dates: 9th and 10th February 2009
Crown Copyright ©
HHJ Michael Kay QC :
The application for planning permission
"2. A description of the measures envisaged in order to avoid, reduce and, if possible, remedy significant adverse effects.
3. The data required to identify and assess the main effects which the development is likely to have on the environment."
"The proposal will result in the loss of part of the Lower Fal and Helford SSSI. In order to compensate for this loss it is imperative that vehicular access to the shore is controlled so that the trackway is only accessed from the slipway at the Shipwrights' Arms and that vehicles stay to the northern part of the foreshore beyond the pilchard cellars. This must be included as a planning condition."
"It is estimated that approximately 460 square metres of SAC habitat will be lost in total. As a result of the cessation of vehicle movements on the mid and lower shore, an area of 570 square metres of degraded habitat will suffer no further disturbance and have the potential to recover."
"The access road alongside the foreshore shall only be accessed from the slipway at the Shipwrights' Arms and vehicles shall only be parked in the car parking area as indicated on the approved plans.
Reason: to accord with the terms of the application and the proposals in the environmental statements and to protect the inter-tidal habitat."
"This is clearly an important project for the future of the fishermen and will provide both a safe and hygienic tidal landing stage … The new jetty provides a vital link in the national coastal path for people of all abilities and car-free access to both sides of the river. Synergy between tourism and the fishing industry can provide a much needed economic future for Helford which in turn will support local businesses. Whilst the proposal will result in a temporary disturbance and some permanent habitat loss, such loss can be compensated by the imposition of appropriate conditions.
Taking into account the Environmental Impact Assessment, the measures to prevent, reduce and mitigate likely significant effects, the completion of a satisfactory Appropriate Assessment, consultation with sponsors, the objections and recommendations from the public and Helford Village Society, it is considered on balance the scheme is supported as there is no significant conflict with development plan policy, emerging local plan policy, statements of Government advice or other material considerations as set out in the report to the Planning Committee on 17 July 2007."
Grounds of challenge
i) use of the foreshore and condition 13;
iii) regeneration and employment;
v) alternative sites;
vi) health and safety;
vii) process; and
viii) the manner in which the permission is expressed.
Use of the foreshore and condition 13
"As a result of the cessation of vehicle movements onto the mid and lower shore at Helford Point an area of degraded habitat will suffer no further disturbance and it is predicted that the biotope type of the surrounding shore will re-colonise and recover the area of habitat although this may take in the order of ten years for full recovery."
The total predicted area of habitat to be restored and biotope recovered was 570m2 comprising the track on the mid and lower foreshore that fishermen drive on to reach their punts and their turning areas for their vehicles.
Regeneration and employment
Health and Safety
"Unless it can be said that the deficiencies are so serious that the document cannot be described as, in substance, an environmental statement for the purposes of the Regulations, such an approach is in my judgment misconceived. It is important that decisions on EIA applications are made on the basis of 'full information', but the Regulations are not based on the premise that the environmental statement will necessarily contain the full information. The process is designed to identify any deficiencies in the environmental statement so that the local planning authority has the full picture, so far as it can be ascertained, when it comes to consider the 'environmental information' of which the environmental statement will be but a part."
The manner in which the planning permission is expressed
"Article 22(1) requires a summary of the policies. That is not the same as a list of the policies. The purpose behind the requirement for a summary is I believe to enable the reader to see the relevance of the policy. All that is needed is an indication of what the policy deals with insofar as it is material to the permission in question."
Permission to appeal