“Jobs is Jobs”
A recent appeal decision adopts a flexible and purposive application of policy to achieve the wider sustainability objectives of the NPPF.
In an appeal at Basildon the inspector granted appeal for the development of a sui generis lorry park for 30 vehicles and an office cabin on a 1.8 ha site that was part of a 3.2 ha allocation for B1 or B2 uses on the basis that it would support a local employer and provide additional 20 jobs and would thus accord with the economic and social dimensions of sustainable development despite conflict with the development plan.
The council opposed the appeal primarily on the basis that increasing the quality of B1 and B2 employment was integral to their economic strategy and that a marketing period of 4 weeks undertaken by the site owner (the HCA) in 2013 was inadequate to justify the loss of an allocated site and contrary to emerging policy. The appellant relied on the fact that the allocation, which was first made in 1998, had not been taken up and the inherent unsuitability of the site for office development given its location and the fact that the bulk of the rest of the allocation had been taken up in 2016 by a waste recycling facility.