Ernie Clark. Hilperton Division, Wiltshire Council.

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Thursday April 26, 2018 16/00672/OUT update.

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Land West of Elizabeth Way (Land SW of Hilperton Marsh).

I have been in contact with WC planning and have received the following information.

"The application still requires more work to be done on technical issues particularly around ecology and drainage. Whilst some of these are the responsibility of the applicant (drainage), a full ecology assessment cannot be done until the Council’s in-house team complete some work on mitigation strategies for dealing with any potential implications for pressure on bat habitats in the wider area which the applicants can then respond to.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) does encourage the Council to proactively engage with applicants during the decision making process, and as they are seeking to address these concerns, it makes sense for the Council to allow them to do so.

If the Council refused the application at this stage, it would inevitably trigger an appeal. Both the Council and local residents would then have to engage with the appeal alongside their engagement with the Sites Plan DPD process – in effect doubling the work. In these circumstances, it makes more sense for all parties to await the examination of the Sites Allocation DPD by a Planning Inspector and then assess the application against the Inspector’s findings, by which time the outstanding technical issues should have been resolved.

In theory, the applicants could decide to appeal against non-determination before that but like everyone else, they may prefer to await the DPD examination as the alternative could be two lots of costs for an appeal and an examination. It is also worth taking account of the fact that the government is reviewing the NPPF this Spring, with a draft due out for public consultation before Easter and a final version due to be published in the Summer.

If an appeal was lodged now, all parties would in effect have to produce evidence based on the current NPPF, but then spend more money and time revising the arguments when the new NPPF comes in, as any date for an Inquiry would be post the scheduled release of the revised NPPF."

Please contact me if there is anything that you would like clarified.