Court of Appeal upholds housing planning refusal on air quality grounds

The Court of Appeal yesterday (September 12) upheld a planning permission refusal on air quality grounds for 330 homes in Kent, making it the first time a planning appeal has been refused due to concerns over air pollution and public health.

Gladman Developments Ltd submitted the proposals in 2014 for up to 330 homes and 60 sheltered accommodation units at a site at London Road, near Newington, Kent, which falls between air quality management areas (AQMAs) in Newington and Rainham.

The proposals were refused in 2015 by Swale borough council on the grounds that the development could impact air quality.

The proposals were refused by a planning inspector and again by a High Court judge in 2017 with Gladman taking the decision to the Court of Appeal, where the decisions of the inspector and the High Court were upheld.

At the planning inquiry, Gladman argued that it had offered a financial contribution to undertake measures that would limit the effects of its development on air quality.

However, CPRE Kent’s air-quality witness, Professor Stephen Peckham, argued there was no indication of how that contribution would be spent, nor any evidence provided that those measures would actually limit the use of petrol or diesel vehicles and in doing so reduce NO2 emissions.

In refusing permission, the inspector said that air quality and human health would suffer if the development were to go ahead.

Hilary Newport, director at CPRE Kent, said: ‘This important decision serves to underline that government simply must commit to its obligations on air quality.

‘We simply cannot continue to allow ‘business as usual’ planning decisions that ignore the impact of unsustainable transport on the health and well-being of communities.

‘We must act quickly to bring about significant changes in the way we plan for future homes, employment and travel needs.’

Richard Knox-Johnston, vice-president of CPRE Kent added: ‘We believe that winning this planning appeal represents the first time air quality mitigation leading to health concerns has been given as a reason.’

AirQualityNews has asked Gladman to comment.

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