Smart Planning have acted on behalf of a successful Food Commodities Warehouse, being a premier storage facility in the UK for imported dried fruit and nut products. The warehouse operates to the highest environmental standards and the integrity of the business was being affected by the Local Planning Authorities’ (LPA) actions.

The LPA granted a variation of conditions application in 2020, but sought to re-impose the conditions in respect of the need for a ‘scheme detailing the means of preventing oil and other such liquid pollutants leaking/ seeping into the land’ (condition 3).

Smart Planning appealed this decision highlighting that it was impossible to construct the marshalling area in accordance with the approved Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) and Drainage Strategy (condition 9) i.e. a permeable surface and to then build into that a scheme to prevent liquids/oils seeping into the land. The two requirements were mutually exclusive and could not be reconciled.

Condition 3 was not recommended by any statutory consultee and there was no scientific evidence base to support it. There was no basis whatsoever to suspect that the marshalled lorries would leak oils and other automotive fluids, there had been no such incident within the 25 year history of the site. It was submitted that condition 3 was not necessary, it did not relate to the development to be permitted, and did not adhere to the 6 tests for imposing conditions.

The Planning Inspector noted that they ‘saw no evidence of oil or any pollutants being stored on the appeal site and the only possible source of pollution therefore would be from the HGVs and cars parked on the site. I consider that spillages from those vehicles would be extremely rare and even if a spillage occurred, it would unlikely be significant in extent.’

‘Therefore, I conclude that when considering the condition against the six tests of the National Planning Policy Framework 2019 (the Framework) it would not be necessary or reasonable.’

The appeal was subsequently allowed.

21 July 2021