Costs have been awarded against Thanet District Council following the overturning by the Planning Inspectorate of a refusal to grant permission for houses in Minster.
Thanet council planning members denied permission for 36 houses in Minster but the decision was overturned on appeal.
The appeal inspector has decided that Thanet council: “behaved unreasonably in refusing the application without adequate reasons that could be substantiated at appeal.”
The outline application, from Crabtree & Crabtree (Minster) Ltd, is for 2,3 and 4-bed homes to be built on land at 66 Monkton Road.
The proposal is for 6 x 2 bedroom units (4 flats, 2 houses), 22 x 3 bedroom and 8 x 4 bedroom dwellings. Eleven of the properties will be affordable homes.
The site is part of an existing agricultural field used for the keeping of horses.
Last November members of Thanet council’s planning committee made a decision to refuse the application on the basis it would create “significant harm” to the nearby Grade II listed Eden Hall and that the need for the housing did not outweigh the need to protect the countryside.
Crabtree & Crabtree appealed the decision, taking their case to the Planning Inspectorate.
They argued that Thanet council does not have a 5 year housing supply plan, as is required of all authorities, which means national guidance is that housing applications should be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
The Planning Inspectorate agreed and granted permission for the application on April 3.
The Isle of Thanet News has now learnt that the Inspector has awarded costs to the developer.
‘Council behaved unreasonably’
Giving his decision Inspector David Reed said: “Neither of the council’s reasons for refusal were supported by clear or substantive evidence at appeal.
“Importantly, in the absence of a five year supply of deliverable housing sites, the policy test in paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework is that permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.
“The need for additional housing in Thanet is not in dispute and the two adverse impacts of the proposal identified by the council fell so far short of this policy test that to pursue them at appeal was unreasonable.
“The council therefore behaved unreasonably in refusing the application without adequate reasons that could be substantiated at appeal. By delaying a development which should clearly be permitted the council have acted unreasonably and caused the appellant unnecessary and wasted expense in needing to pursue an appeal.
“I therefore find that unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense, as described in Planning Practice Guidance, has been demonstrated and that a full award of costs is justified.”
Crabtree & Crabtree now has to submit the costs amount to the council, which decides whether they are reasonable TDC will make an offer and the appellant decides whether to accept it or not.
If not accepted, the amount will have to be decided in court.