Precautionary approach to development in JBO zone justified

A report on recent Appeals at CEC was presented to the Southern Planning Committee earlier this month by CEC’s Head of Planning Regulations to provide ‘information that should help measure and improve the Council’s quality of decision making in respect of planning applications’.

‘..electro-magnetic interference arising from small scale developments can and does have a harmful impact on the workings of the Telescope and should be resisted to protect this important asset.’

The report highlights the recent Appeal for 6 houses in Goostrey that was dismissed – due to the ‘significant weight’ given to the impact on the Lovell and work of JBO – recognised to be of ‘global importance’.  Developers take note!

The Lovell radio telescope

As this is relevant to current/future applications in the Goostrey area, as part of the JBO Consultation Zone, I will reproduce the particular section in full:

5.5  Application ref. 16/4306C was subject to an appeal decision on 18 January 2018 following an Inquiry in October 2017. The proposal was for a small scale housing development of 6 dwellings on a site adjacent to the settlement boundary of Goostrey. The key issue for this appeal was the impact on the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope. The appeal was dismissed due to the impact on the telescope as a result of cumulative exceedances in the levels of interference for radio astronomy. Significant weight was attached to the impact on the research facility, recognised of global importance.

5.6  This decision follows earlier appeal decisions that have been dismissed for larger developments where the Council has sought to uphold local plan policies for the protection of Jodrell Bank Observatory. In the light of those decisions, the local planning authority has been applying significant weight to the cumulative impacts on Jodrell Bank, even when individually the impacts have been relatively minor. This decision confirms that electro-magnetic interference arising from small scale developments can and does have a harmful impact on the workings of the Telescope and should be resisted to protect this important asset. The decision emphasises some of the complexities of assessing the individual impacts beyond purely the scale of the development, with location, proximity and orientation just some of the determinative factors.

5.7  The decision recognises that there has been a degree of inconsistency through both LPA decision and Appeal Decisions in relation to small scale developments in the Jodrell Bank Observatory consultation zone. In large part this has arisen from the nature of consultation responses that the Council now receives which are now worded to demonstrate the harmful impact of small scale and cumulative developments.

5.8 Whilst it should be recognised that there may be an opportunity to improve consistency through policy and working with Jodrell Bank on the wording of consultation responses, this Appeal Decision emphasises and justifies a precautionary approach to any new housing development in the Jodrell Bank consultation zone.

The report recommends that members of the committee note the contents to ‘learn from outcomes and to continue to improve the Council’s quality of decision making on planning applications.’

To read the report click the link: Appeals Review Southern Planning Committee August 2018.

 

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