QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
LEEDS DISTRICT REGISTRY
1 Oxford Road, Leeds, LS1 3BG
B e f o r e :
| PERSIMMON HOMES (NORTH EAST) LIMITED
|- and -
|NEWCASTLE CITY COUNCIL
|- and -
|BELLWAY HOMES LIMITED
||First Interested Party
|- and -
|COMMERCIAL ESTATES GROUP LIMITED
||Second Interested Party
Sasha White QC (instructed by Solicitor for Newcastle City Council) for the Defendant
Christopher Young & Hashi Mohamed (instructed by Winckworth Sherwood LLP) for the First Interested Party
Andrew Tabachnik QC (instructed by Walker Morris LLP) for the Second Interested Party
Hearing dates: 8th & 9th March 2017
Crown Copyright ©
Mr Justice Dove :
The factual background
"Indicative Access Road
The indicative access road will link
- The A69 Throckley junction to Lower Callerton
- Lower Callerton to Middle Callerton
- Middle Callerton to Upper Callerton
- Upper Callerton either via Newbiggin Lane to the A696 or north to the A696 at Callerton Parkway
The purpose of the links is to provide a new local road network to serve the Callerton NGA. This will alleviate pressures on the existing local road network and address local concerns about congestion. Discussions with the Highways Agency have confirmed that the road is not required to reduce impact on the Strategic Road Network. The Council has proposed these interventions to provide the necessary infrastructure to accommodate the increase in traffic that would result from the new developments. This does not prevent other solutions coming forward for consideration during the Masterplan and Planning Application Process. Transport Assessments submitted will be assessed in the normal manner through the Development Management process to determine the most appropriate solution.
The nature of the road has changed over time to respond to the emerging Core Strategy and Urban core Plan, revised growth scenarios and emerging evidence. The access roads are not required to be delivered up front but rather will be developed out as and when needed in line with the approved Masterplan and phasing plan that will accompany its planning permission."
"118. The Submission Plan includes a new link road through the countryside between the Lower, Middle and Upper Callerton sites which would connect westwards to the A69 at Throckley and northwards to the A696 at Callerton Parkway. The two sections between the three proposed sites would improve movement around the north-western fringe of Newcastle and take traffic off Stamfordham Road, which at times is congested. These links are therefore necessary on both highways and planning grounds. However, there seems to be little purpose to the link from Upper Callerton to the A696. The road would run parallel to the A696 dual carriageway, crossing farmland and a belt of woodland alongside the Ouseburn. A readily accessible alternative access to the A696 exists at the Newbiggin Lane junction, which appears to have ample capacity. With very little traffic forecast to use this northern link, the loss of countryside and intrusion into the Green Belt are not justified; consequently it has been removed from the Policies Map.
119. The developers of the Callerton sites argue that the westwards link road to the A69 at Throckley is also not justified. From the limited evidence available it seems that relatively little traffic would use this section, so the case on highway capacity grounds is not strong. However, the alternative route via the B6528 is circuitous and goes through parts of Walbottle and Throckley. In light of the acknowledgement in paragraph 11.41 that the need for new routes through the Green Belt will be assessed at master-planning stage (MM18), this link should be retained as a possible new route to allow more detailed analysis to take place. Even if the road is not essential on traffic grounds, there may be a strong case on planning grounds for the additional connectivity it would bring and the relief of congestion on other parts of the road network. As currently phrased the link to the A69 is a requirement of policy NN1; MM32 includes the addition of "if appropriate" so as not to prejudice the future decision."
"4. What impact will this proposal have?
4.1 Managing demand, growth and infrastructure is a vital part in creating the right conditions for the city to thrive and grow. Examining and developing key corridors, creating links between sites and to existing communities is important.
4.2 From the work that has been undertaken the strategy for development includes key public transport corridors, namely the West Road and Great North Road and key corridors for general traffic, namely Scotswood Road, Stamfordham Road and Ponteland Road.
4.3 To the west of the A1 traffic will be focused onto the A69 and A696 and the proposed Link Roads in order to avoid movements through existing communities and support sustainable modes."
The report indicated that further reports were to be presented in due course identifying both specific transport mitigation and a delivery timetable. GAN included as an appendix an explanation of the detailed traffic modelling which had been undertaken. The analysis, having explained how the existing network was modelled and traffic was assigned through it, went on to set out the following in respect of the modelling of the link road:
"As new roads are proposed, namely the Outer West Link Road and the Airport Access Road, we want to know how much traffic would use it and how much traffic would be removed from other roads. The new roads are coded as new links in the model network and the assignment process re-run. The result would be the amount of traffic the assignment model estimates each link will carry. The amount of traffic estimated on the new links in the model is the amount of traffic the model has estimated that the new road will carry. For the existing roads the model's traffic volume estimate for a link can be compared with what it was without the new road and the difference is the traffic diverted from the link due to the new road.
Focusing traffic onto main roads and corridors is important therefore the analysis has restrained the network in places. For example, Stamfordham Road through to Stamfordham Road/ Newbiggin Lane Roundabout to the A1 is restrained so the majority of traffic uses the new link road. Similarly, further development of the Gosforth North Public Transport Corridor will see an element of traffic move onto the Ponteland Road Corridor. The analysis effectively connects the zones and links in a different way. The design of development, physical works and the use of technology are important to the management of the network."
"7.2 A key spatial priority of the Plan is concentrating new housing development in our Neighbourhood Area. The majority of new housing development will be accommodated here, both within the existing built up area and in the new Neighbourhood Growth Areas. We will ensure that our Neighbourhoods Areas are places of choice for living, supported by sustainable access to job opportunities and a range of other services and facilities to meet the day to day needs of residents. Our Neighbourhood Area will provide housing choice for people, regardless of age and income to underpin the areas' economic competitiveness and support our working population.
7.3 Policy CS3 identifies locations where growth and development will be supported.
Policy CS3 Spatial Strategy for Neighbourhood Area
In the Neighbourhood Area sustainable communities will be promoted and maintained, meeting housing needs and supporting jobs by:
1. Development of approximately 21,900 new homes.
2. Investing in housing development and neighbourhoods specifically in Opportunity Areas at: Bensham and Saltwell, Benwell and Scotswood, Birtley, Byker, Dunston and Teams, Elswick, Felling and Walker Riverside (Figure 7.2).
3. Development of major brownfield sites for new sustainable communities in Areas of Change at Newburn (AOC1) and Metrogreen (AOC2).
4. Allocating Neighbourhood Growth Areas for housing development at: Callerton (NN1), Dunston Hill (GN1), Kingston Park/Kenton Bank Foot (NN2), Newbiggin Hall (NN3) and Newcastle Great Park (NN4). Development will be carried out in accordance with:
i. approved masterplans for each of the identified Neighbourhood Growth Areas which demonstrate a comprehensive, phased and coordinated approach to site development setting out how necessary infrastructure, and the strategic infrastructure identified for the site in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan, will be delivered on a phased basis.
ii. approved development phasing plans setting out build rates and triggers for infrastructure and demonstrating how each phase of the development is sustainable and deliverable...
7.10 Given that the new development will generate the need for new infrastructure it is important that the individual sites (as defined in Policy CS3) in each of the Neighbourhood Growth Areas are masterplanned together, regardless of ownership. Phasing plans will be required which set out the triggers for the provision of required infrastructure and legal agreements will need to be put in place to deliver that infrastructure. Masterplans will be prepared by the landowner/developer(s) in consultation with the Councils and must be approved as part of the planning application process. The masterplanning and the development requirements of these sites are set out in policies in the Sub Areas and Site Specific policies in Section 5 of the Plan."
"Policy NN1 Lower, Middle and Upper Callerton
Land is allocated at Lower (NN1a Figure 16.8a), Middle (NN1b Figure 16.8b) and Upper Callerton (NN1c Figure 16.8c) Neighbourhood Growth Area for approximately 3000 new homes. Development is required to be comprehensively masterplanned and demonstrate together with a phasing plan, how the following will be provided to ensure that each phase of development is sustainable.
Development will be required to provide:
4. Road connections to the highways network (including an Access Road and connections to the A696 and, if appropriate, A69), between and through new housing areas and to existing communities and services.
5. Mitigation of the cumulative traffic impacts of the proposed development on the highway network."
"Highway Adoption Issues
2.9 Newcastle City Council's Street Design Guide dated March 2011 advises that the maximum number properties which can be served from a residential street is 700 homes, as shown in Table 4.2 of that document (copy attached at Appendix B). Initial discussions with NCC have suggested that the limit may be lower than 700 homes.
2.10 The dwelling limit is important for Upper Callerton, which is expected to deliver 1,200 homes. Its main access is on Newbiggin Lane just to the south of A696, and there is very limited opportunity for a secondary access to the nearby Hareydean estate which could not serve a significant number of new homes. As a result the Access Road is necessary for the Upper Callerton site to provide a secondary access point in order to meet the NCC's highway adoption requirements."
5.1 The need for the Access Road is required for highway adoption reasons when Upper Callerton reaches 700 homes and, based on the phasing plan, this is expected to be in 2025. This report considered the implications for the key junctions within the local road network, should the Access Road not be delivered by the end of the Core Strategy trajectory using both JMP flows and WYG flows.
5.2 Using the JMP flows assuming 2030 and full development of Lower Callerton and Middle Callerton, with 700 homes at Upper Callerton it is concluded that the Stamfordham Road/Newbiggin Lane/Wheatfield Road, Stamfordham Road/Hillhead Road and Hillhead Road/West Denton Way junctions can accommodate the level of development generated from the full build-out of Lower and Middle Callerton and with 700 homes at Upper Callerton without the Access Road.
5.3 The need for completing the Access Road has also been assessed using the WYG Flows assuming 700 homes at Upper Callerton and full development of Lower Callerton and Middle Callerton, termed the 2030 WYG flows. This assessment predicted long queues and delays at the Stamfordham Road/Newbiggin Lane junction even if some of the AM Peak eastbound traffic on Stamfordham Road diverted via West Denton Way – reported as the Sensitivity Test. The improved Stamfordham Road/Hill Head and Hill head/West Denton Way junctions both had acceptable performance with both WYG Flows and Sensitivity Test flows. However, it was concluded that the performance of the Stamfordham Road/Newbiggin Lane junction was at its limit.
5.4 Following the 2030 WYG Flows assessment of the Stamfordham Road/Newbiggin Lane junction an assessment based on the Phasing Plan for housing delivery for Callerton was undertaken. In the 2025 WYG Flows assessment it was assumed 700 homes at Upper Callerton, 620 homes at Lower Callerton and full development at Middle Callerton.
5.5 The critical Stamfordham Road/Newbiggin Lane and Wheatfield Road traffic arrangement has been assessed with 2025 WYG Flows and the junction performance can be considered acceptable on both Stamfordham Road west on Newbiggin Lane. There is some headroom before an unacceptable performance is reached and this may be utilised to allow the full development of Lower Callerton if Upper Callerton is delayed.
5.6 Using the 2025 WYG flows, the improved Stamfordham Road/Hillhead Road and Hillhead Road/West Denton Way junctions can accommodate the level of development generated traffic.
5.7 From this analysis it can be concluded that:
i) Using the JMP Flows the Access Road between West Middle Callerton and Upper Callerton need not be completed if both Lower and Middle Callerton are fully developed and there are 700 homes at Upper Callerton. The Access Road would be required once the development of Upper Callerton goes beyond 700 homes to meet NCC highway adoption requirements.
ii) Using WYG Flows, the performance of the Stamfordham Road/Newbiggin Lane junction is at its limit both Lower and Middle Callerton are fully developed and there are 700 homes at Upper Callerton without the Access Road (2030 WYG Flows). However, if Middle Callerton is fully developed, 620 homes are developed on Lower Callerton and 700 homes at Upper Callerton without the Access Road (2025 WYG Flows) then the local junction performance subject to identified improvements is acceptable."
"- The build out rates will be considered for all the Callerton sites based on the information contained within the Newcastle Northern Land Release Development Assessment Report dated 29th September 2015. Where the number of houses has increased this will be taken into consideration.
- Flows will be incrementally increased to determine when the junction is severely impacted (the threshold for severe impact will be agreed with NCC based on precedents from previous planning applications and knowledge of local considerations).
- Determine an indicative programme for the trigger points for Stamfordham Road junctions and the completion of the link through Upper Callerton to Newbiggin Lane in terms of build out on the Callerton sites.
- Determine the approximate number of units which can be accommodated through an access taken on to Hareydene and discuss the implications of linking this access to the main spine road through Upper Callerton.
- Produce a short report showing the findings."
The claimants emphasise for the purposes of their arguments which are set out below the use of the yard stick of "severe impact" for the purposes of determining when the access road should be delivered. For reasons which are explored more fully below, the claimants contend that the use of this threshold was wholly inappropriate and led to errors of law.
"5.6 The JMP Development Assessment Study concluded that the mitigation scheme at Stamfordham Road /Newbiggin Lane needed to be constructed by 2030. However, that study did not assess assigning all the West Middle Callerton traffic via Stamfordham Road.
5.7 The increase in traffic from West Middle Callerton due to the Link Road not being in place and the higher flows used in this assessment mean that the mitigation scheme for Stamfordham Road / Newbiggin Lane will need to be in place earlier than stated with the JMP Development Assessment Study. The results show that both the existing and proposed layouts are over capacity in 2030 and 2025.
5.8 Using the build out rate contained in Appendix C of the WYG report, the development flows were built up to determine the incremental impact on the existing Stamfordham Road / Newbiggin Lane. Stamfordham Road West was used to determine the trigger points as this is the arm most susceptible to becoming over capacity.
5.9 The trigger for what is considered a severe impact is subjective and should be considered in the context of the junction. In this instance a queue which interferes with the operation of Stamfordham Road / Hillhead Road junction (the next upstream junction) is considered severe. The junctions are 570m apart which equates to 99 pcus, therefore a queue of 99 pcus or fewer is considered within acceptable tolerances. This will occur in 2019 therefore the mitigation should be in place by the end of 2018.
5.10 A similar exercise was carried out with the proposed layout to determine when it is considered to cause a severe impact and thus trigger when the Link Road should be completed. The proposed layout does not result in a queue of more than 100 pcus therefore the Link Road is not required before 2030."
"The report centres around the concept of 'severe' impact; this is the ultimate test identified in prevailing planning policy, however, the focus on severity is as a consequence of the emphasis given wrongly to the determination of the Middle Callerton planning applications.
The extract from the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), quoted in the report, requires that:
"Development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the residual cumulative impacts of development are severe."
What is not quoted is the preceding sentence that requires improvements to be undertaken within the transport network that "limit the significant impacts of the development." Given that, at the heart of the NPPF, there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development which should be seen as a "golden thread", it is incumbent on developers and local authorities to explore and implement measures that mitigate the significant impacts of development and only when the "residual" cumulative impacts are agreed not to be severe should a development be granted planning consent.
With regards to Callerton particularly, appropriate highways works must be considered in the masterplanning of this strategic residential allocation not simply to satisfy a piecemeal planning application. Consequently, in line with current planning policy, if it is possible to bring forward an improvement that ameliorates traffic congestion and its associated environmental impacts then it should be a requirement of the planning consent.
Clearly, when the relevant NPPF policy is read as whole, decisions should take account of whether cost effective improvements can limit significant impacts; if it is considered appropriately, an access road can clearly achieve this. There is a general acknowledgement that the link road will act to reduce traffic congestion on Stamfordham Road; WYF acknowledge this is its report and there is a tacit acknowledgement in the JMP report given that it identifies the need for the link road at some point in the future."
"Stamfordham Road/Newbiggin Lane
In fact, JMP has, with regards to the Stamfordham Road/Newbiggin Lane junction,:
- reviewed the operation of the existing roundabout with four traffic flow scenarios and
- reviewed the operation of the proposed signalisation scheme with the same four traffic flow scenarios.
With regards to the operation of the existing roundabout, in each of the four traffic flow scenarios, the junction is forecast to operate in excess of its capacity in 2025 and in 2030. This is unsurprising given that the junction is currently observed to the operating with congestion. The forecast 'maximum' traffic queue on Stamfordham Road west is 49.5 PCU in the 2016 AM peak period, without development.
In the 2030, with development, scenario the same AM peak period traffic queue extends to a maximum 207.6 PCU and maximum 325 PCU. The difference in queue length is marked and is a reflection of the variation between the WYG forecast development flows and the NCC forecast flows. There is automatically, therefore, a question about the accuracy of the modelling, not least because both purport to be maximums; nonetheless, the larger 'maximum' queue extends to some 1,870km and, therefore, by the JMP measure, this is would be classed as severe as it exceeds the PCU stacking distance between the junction and the next upstream junction.
The assessment of the proposed signalised improvement employs the same traffic flow scenarios and the junction is forecast to operate with capacity in the 2016 [assumed, as it is unclear], without development scenario albeit, even improved, the junction is approaching saturation; the maximum degree of saturation (DoS) is 81.1% and the 'maximum' queue is 18.1 PCU or 104m.
In the 2030, with development, scenario the DoS increases to 91.7% and 104.7% with the NCC derived traffic flows and the WYG traffic flows respectively. The variation in DoS in this instance is not as marked, however, the difference in maximum queue length is very marked, these being 25.4 PCU and 85 PCU with the NCC derived traffic flows and the WYG traffic flows respectively; this is a difference of almost 60 PCU or 342m which not only demonstrates the sensitivity of the modelling buy highlights the challenge to be accurate. Clearly, however, at 85 PCU – some 489m – the traffic queue must be regarded as significant even if it is not 'severe' by JMPs measure.
In the 2025 scenario, with WYG derived development flows, the forecast maximum traffic queue is 60.6 PCU or 348m.
JMP conclude, therefore, that even with improvements the junction "is still over capacity in 2025 and 2030" albeit the queues are "less severe". TPS consider that the forecast traffic queue – an increase of 36 PCU or 240m compared with the 2016 without development scenario – reflects, at least, a significant impact and, therefore, in accordance with the NPPF should be limited if and where possible, yet the link road has not been considered as mechanism to relieve this forecast traffic congestion."
"You have highlighted the fact that Core Strategy Policy NN1 requires the relevant road connections be provided for the Callerton allocations, and that mitigation is provided for the cumulative traffic impacts. However I do not consider that the conclusions drawn from the evidence relating to the link road, the mitigation measures within the supporting TA for the planning applications for Middle Callerton and the independent JMP assessment of this information, conflicts with the objectives of criteria 4 and 5 of Policy NN1…
I note your support for the provision of the access road earlier within the phasing in order to use it to ease existing congestion. However in appointing JMP to undertake the independent assessment of the traffic evidence, the Council were concerned with the timing and delivery of the infrastructure and highway works referenced within the Infrastructure Delivery Plan for the Masterplan. Officers believe that the JMP assessment provided an appropriate and robust analysis of this evidence and has successfully established the parameters for the delivery and timing of those works. I cannot therefore agree to the amendments proposed by yourselves to the Masterplan on this matter."
The defendant went on to address the detailed points within the TPS report and, in particular, responded to certain of the points as follows:
"1. The link road has not been considered as a mechanism to relieve traffic congestion.
The assessment provided by White Young Green (WYG) to accompany the Middle Callerton applications demonstrates that the link road is not required in traffic terms for the full build out of Middle Callerton. The Trigger Point Assessment carried out by JMP provided an independent assessment, and these findings concur with the findings of the WYG assessment.
The analysis of the Link Road in planning terms was outside the scope of the brief which was as follows –
- Determine how many units can be built on each of the Callerton sites before the link road is completed
- Determine trigger points for the completion of the link road
- Timing of junction improvements needed at the following junctions
- Hillhead Road/West Denton Road
- Stamfordham Road/Hillhead Road; and
- Stamfordham Road/Newbiggin Lane…
4. The definition of severe impact is arbitrary. There is no assessment of the Newbiggin Lane junction with the Hillhead Road junction. Consequently, the assertion that stacking back would result in a severe impact has not itself been demonstrated.
At the EiP it was agreed that the Masterplan approach should be speedy. While a corridor study would be beneficial and allow better understanding of the interaction between the junctions, the time and cost of building a validated micro-simulation model to test various scenarios would be prohibitive.
The definition of what constitutes severe impact, as stated in the National Planning policy Framework (NPPF), is subjective, The definition of severe in this instance was based on the current operation of Stamfordham Road and what could be added before being viewed as severe in a legal context (for example at an enquiry). Queues are already present on Stamfordham Road, yet land has been allocated for development within Newcastle City Council's Core Strategy. Once the back of the queue from the Stamfordham Road/Newbiggin Lane junction interferes with the operation of the next major junction, Stamfordham Road/Hillhead Road, it could be considered a severe impact.
5. The reliance of traffic queues as a measure of severe impact is flawed as it concentrates on the wellbeing and convenience of drivers. The impact of congestion on other road users, public transport, local residents and business is ignored.
The brief, as outlined in point 1, required JMP to determine a trigger point for the completion of the Link Road and consider the timing of junction improvements. Planning related decisions were outside the scope of the Trigger Point Assessment. However, pedestrian and cycle facilities will be included in the junction designs."
"whereby delivery of the link road is explicitly to be determined by planning applications which are themselves to be determined on a "severe impact" basis, would be fundamentally inconsistent with statutory policy requirements, and therefore unlawful".
"3.12 As part of the consultation, representations were received regarding the proposed road between Middle and Upper Callerton. Representations were made with regard to the timing of the delivery of the road, with responses stating that for good planning purposes, the delivery of the road should be front loaded on the developments rather deliver being based on a traffic related trigger. Council evidence considers that the triggers in the document are robust and policy compliant."
The defendant's Cabinet resolved, having noted the consultation responses received, to "approve the draft Masterplan as Informal Planning Guidance".
|NN1 Criteria||How this Masterplan responds|
|Road connections to the highways network (including an Access Road and connections to the A696 and, if appropriate, A69), between and through new housing areas and to existing communities and services||The allocations generate relatively little traffic to the west so an access road between Lower Callerton and the A69 at Throckley is not necessary. Lower Callerton generates traffic to Stamfordham Road, which can be accommodated on North Walbottle Road and there is no need to provide the access road to Stamfordham Road. Connectivity between Lower Callerton and Middle Callerton can be provided by North Walbottle Road. Therefore, an Access Road between Lower Callerton and Middle Callerton is not required. The Masterplan does enable the delivery of this road, should there be a demonstrable need for it in the future. The Masterplan allows for the provision of a road linking Middle and Upper Callerton.|
|Mitigation of the cumulative traffic impacts of the proposed development on the highway network.||A range of measures are set out in Section 9 which will mitigate the cumulative traffic impact of the proposed development on the highway network. More detail will be provided through individual planning applications.|
"• A road to link between Middle Callerton and Upper Callerton will be provided, should there be an evidenced need for this.
• The Masterplan allows for a future road link between the A69, Lower Callerton and Middle Callerton, should there be an evidenced need for this in the future."
9.12 The masterplan in accordance with NN1 indicates that a road connection will be provided from Stamfordham Rd through West Middle Callerton and Upper Callerton to the A696 (the Access Road). The Access Rd will be delivered by the developers in phases as and when the various phases of the development come forward. The indicative alignment of the Access Rd in the Masterplan is for illustrative purposes only and is subject to change. The detailed design of the Access Rd will be prepared by the developers and agreed with the Council in due course as part of the planning application process. The road will be constructed to an adoptable standard in accordance with the Council's relevant construction guidance to ensure it is suitable for adoption by the Highway Authority.
9.13 The developer of West Middle Callerton will build the Access Road Junction onto Stamfordham Rd and the section through their site to the north east boundary of the West Middle site. The triggers for this section of road will need to be set through the planning application for the West Middle Callerton site (condition and/ or S106 agreement). It will need to ensure that the road is completed in an agreed timeframe to service the site and enable the link between Stamfordham Rd and Upper Callerton to be provided. The developer will also enter into a S106 agreement to ensure that the Access Rd through their site is in accordance with agreed design parameters and once constructed is dedicated as public highway.
9.14 Likewise the developer of Upper Callerton will build the Access Rd junction onto Newbiggin lane and construct the road in phases from this point through to the western boundary of Upper Callerton. The road will be built to agreed design parameters and once each section is completed it will be adopted as public highway. The Council envisages that Upper Callerton will be developed from East to West. The Masterplan does indicate that Hareydene could provide an opportunity for a secondary access but the detail of this will need to be established through a more detailed Transport Assessment for Upper Callerton. It is essential that Upper Callerton is planned comprehensively and any development off Harydene is fully integrated into the wider development with appropriate access and links to the supporting infrastructure such as schools, open space and SUDs. The delivery of the road will be secured through condition and / or S106 agreement and to an agreed phasing plan.
9.15 The middle section of the Access Rd between Middle Callerton and Upper Callerton will be delivered by the developer(s) for Upper Callerton. The timing of the completion (joining up) of the access road will be agreed with the Council as and when applications are submitted for Upper Callerton and will be determined by the phasing of the development, the need for a secondary access for the housing allocation and access to infrastructure such as schools and sports facilities. The timing will also need to be coordinated with the provision of the road through West Middle Callerton. This will be secured via S106 and planning conditions. It will be built to an agreed specification and adopted by the Council.
9.16 The Council is of the view that the developments of Lower and Middle Callerton can be constructed in advance of the Link between Middle and Upper Callerton being constructed. This assessment is based on a series of highway improvement works taking place to the Stamfordham Rd corridor. This will include junction improvements and linking traffic lights into the UTMC system. The detail of these improvements and the triggers for implementation will be established through detailed Transport Assessments submitted through the planning application process. It is envisaged that the works will take place at an early phase of the housing developments and they will be secured through planning condition/ S278 works."
"101. Overall this the cumulative effect of EMC and WMC on Stamfordham Road would be an increase of 652 vehicle movements in the AM peak and 713 in the PM peak. This equates to an overall increase of approximately 46% in the AM peak and a 50% increase in the PM peak.
102. While this increase in traffic is large, it is inevitable that with the level of growth outlined in the Core Strategy, that levels of traffic would increase. The main point to consider is not the traffic itself, but whether or not road safety is prejudiced due to the additional traffic. Both the JMP study and Transport Assessments have considered the impact of the increased traffic on the operation of junctions and therefore road safety, and although there would be increased queue lengths and delays at the junctions, the impact is not considered to be prejudicial to road safety, or severe."
The report went on to consider the requirement for mitigation works to be undertaken to a variety of existing junctions on the highway network and at a later stage considered the requirement for inclusion of the access road in the following terms:
"114. The applicants provided supplementary information in respect of the number of dwellings which could be delivered on East Middle Callerton and West Middle Callerton before the link road between Stamfordham Road and A696 in the form of a Technical note. This technical note concluded that WMC and EMC could be fully built out without the impact of the additional traffic having a detrimental effect on Stamfordham Road and the junctions impacted on by the development.
115. The Council also had an independent study carried out to look into the timings for the delivery of the link between Stamfordham Road and A696. This study, carried out by Transport Consultants JMP also concluded that the full EMC and WMC allocations could be built out before the link road would be necessary from a traffic perspective. This study, as with the developers own study, illustrated that there would be additional traffic on Stamfordham Road and through the junctions along it, with increased queuing and increased journey times. However, this additional traffic would not cause conditions on the highway which would be considered detrimental to road safety, and the cumulative impact would not be severe as required by the NPPF to refuse applications on highways grounds.
116. It is therefore considered, that while the requirement for a link between Stamfordham Road and A696 remains an integral part of the Masterplan, evidence presented by both the developer and the Council's own link road study, show that provision of the road is not necessary to deliver the housing on EMC and WMC providing the necessary mitigations are carried out at the appropriate time."
Finally, the report considered local residents' objections (which it should be noted included representations from a local councillor) and addressed them in the following terms:
"124. Objections have been received from local residents concerning the likely impact of traffic on existing highways. Notwithstanding these objections, the Council's Transport and Investment Manager has considered the details of the TA and the Environmental Impact Assessment and concludes that subject to implementation of the junction and highway improvement schemes along Stamfordham Road, then the traffic generated by both the West Middle and East Middle Callerton planning applications can operate without resulting in significant delays upon the local highway network and specifically Stamfordham Road, North Walbottle Road and Newbiggin Lane. It is concluded that the residual cumulative impacts of traffic from these two development are not predicted to be severe."
Finally, in an update report in respect of the application for EMC (reflected in the main text of the report on WMC), the officers advised as follows:
"12. The Callerton Masterplan and Design Code was adopted by cabinet on 12 October 2016. It was prepared to assist in the delivery of housing at Callerton as a requirement of Policy NN1 of the Newcastle/Gateshead Core Strategy and Urban Core Plan. The Masterplan considers the development and delivery of housing on the Callerton sites within the allocation, and incorporates an Infrastructure Delivery Plan which identifies the key roads, drainage, schools necessary to meets the needs for the housing development. The masterplan is informal planning guidance and a material consideration in the determination of planning applications for the Callerton sits. Applications coming forward within the Core Strategy for the Callerton Housing site are required to deliver where necessary in accordance with the Infrastructure Delivery Plan as set out within the Masterplan."
"70 Determination of applications: general considerations.
(1)Where an application is made to a local planning authority for planning permission—
(a)…they may grant planning permission, either unconditionally or subject to such conditions as they think fit; or
(b)they may refuse planning permission.
(2)In dealing with an application for planning permission… the authority shall have regard to—
(a) the provisions of the development plan, so far as material to the application…
(b) any local finance considerations, so far as material to the application, and
(c) any other considerations"
"38(6) If regard is to be had to the development plan for the purpose of any determination to be made under the planning Acts the determination must be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise."
"18 In the present case, the planning authority was required by section 25 to consider whether the proposed development was in accordance with the development plan and, if not, whether material considerations justified departing from the plan. In order to carry out that exercise, the planning authority required to proceed on the basis of what Lord Clyde described as "a proper interpretation" of the relevant provisions of the plan. We were however referred by counsel to a number of judicial dicta which were said to support the proposition that the meaning of the development plan was a matter to be determined by the planning authority: the court, it was submitted, had no role in determining the meaning of the plan unless the view taken by the planning authority could be characterised as perverse or irrational. That submission, if correct, would deprive sections 25 and 37(2) of the 1997 Act of much of their effect, and would drain the need for a "proper interpretation" of the plan n of much of its meaning and purpose. It would also make little practical sense. The development plan is a carefully drafted and considered statement of policy, published in order to inform the public of the approach which will be followed by planning authorities in decision-making unless there is good reason to depart from it. It is intended to guide the behaviour of developers and planning authorities. As in other areas of administrative law, the policies which it sets out are designed to secure consistency and direction in the exercise of discretionary powers, while allowing a measure of flexibility to be retained. Those considerations point away from the view that the meaning of the plan is in principle a matter which each planning authority is entitled to determine from time to time as it pleases, within the limits of rationality. On the contrary, these considerations suggest that in principle, in this area of public administration as in others (as discussed, for example, in R (Raissi) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  QB 836 ), policy statements should be interpreted objectively in accordance with the language used, read as always in its proper context.
19 That is not to say that such statements should be construed as if they were statutory or contractual provisions. Although a development plan has a legal status and legal effects, it is not analogous in its nature or purpose to a statute or a contract. As has often been observed, development plans are full of broad statements of policy, many of which may be mutually irreconcilable, so that in a particular case one must give way to another. In addition, many of the provisions of development plans are framed in language whose application to a given set of facts requires the exercise of judgment. Such matters fall within the jurisdiction of planning authorities, and their exercise of their judgment can only be challenged on the ground that it is irrational or perverse: Tesco Stores Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment  1 WLR 759 , per Lord Hoffmann. Nevertheless, planning authorities do not live in the world of Humpty Dumpty: they cannot make the development plan mean whatever they would like it to mean.
20 The principal authority referred to in relation to this matter was the judgment of Brooke LJ in R v Derbyshire County Council, Ex p Woods  JPL 958. Properly understood, however, what was said there is not inconsistent with the approach which I have described. In the passage in question, Brooke LJ stated:
"If there is a dispute about the meaning of the words included in a policy document which a planning authority is bound to take into account, it is of course for the court to determine as a matter of law what the words are capable of meaning. If the decision-maker attaches a meaning to the words they are not properly capable of bearing, then it will have made an error of law, and it will have failed properly to understand the policy."
By way of illustration, Brooke LJ referred to the earlier case of Northavon District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment  JPL 761 , which concerned a policy applicable to "institutions standing in extensive grounds". As was observed, the words spoke for themselves, but their application to particular factual situations would often be a matter of judgment for the planning authority. That exercise of judgment would only be susceptible to review in the event that it was unreasonable. The latter case might be contrasted with the case of R (Heath & Hampstead Society) v Vlachos  3 All ER 80 , where a planning authority's decision that a replacement dwelling was not "materially larger" than its predecessor, within the meaning of a policy, was vitiated by its failure to understand the policy correctly: read in its context, the phrase "materially larger" referred to the size of the new building compared with its predecessor, rather than requiring a broader comparison of their relative impact, as the planning authority had supposed. Similarly in City of Edinburgh Council v Scottish Ministers 2001 SC 957 the reporter's decision that a licensed restaurant constituted "similar licensed premises" to a public house, within the meaning of a policy, was vitiated by her misunderstanding of the policy: the context was one in which a distinction was drawn between public houses, wine bars and the like, on the one hand, and restaurants, on the other.
21 A provision in the development plan which requires an assessment of whether a site is "suitable" for a particular purpose calls for judgment in its application. But the question whether such a provision is concerned with suitability for one purpose or another is not a question of planning judgment: it is a question of textual interpretation, which can only be answered by construing the language used in its context. In the present case, in particular, the question whether the word "suitable", in the policies in question, means "suitable for the development proposed by the applicant", or "suitable for meeting identified deficiencies in retail provision in the area", is not a question which can be answered by the exercise of planning judgment: it is a logically prior question as to the issue to which planning judgment requires to be directed."
"The full delivery of the link is a requirement of Callerton NGA and any part of it – no development shall be brought forward until a legally binding scheme has been agreed between all landowners & the Council which ensures delivery of the entire [access] road."
"32. All developments that generate significant amounts of movement should be supported by a Transport Statement or Transport Assessment. Plans and decisions should take account of whether:
? the opportunities for sustainable transport modes have been taken up depending on the nature and location of the site, to reduce the need for major transport infrastructure;
? safe and suitable access to the site can be achieved for all people; and
? improvements can be undertaken within the transport network that cost effectively limit the significant impacts of the development. Development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the residual cumulative impacts of development are severe."
"which demonstrate a comprehensive, phased and coordinated approach to site development setting out how necessary infrastructure, and the strategic infrastructure identified for the site and the Infrastructure Delivery Plan will be delivered on a phased basis."
It also requires that there be approved development phasing plans identifying "triggers for infrastructure and demonstrating how each phase of the development is sustainable and deliverable".