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Decision to refuse Galgate housing scheme planning permission upheld following public inquiry

A decision to refuse permission to build 108 homes on land at Galgate has been upheld by a government inspector.

The scheme by Wainhomes (North West) Limited proposed up to 108 dwellings at land to the west of Highland Brow.

In March 2023 the city council refused the outline planning application on seven grounds, including highway impact, ecological impacts and flooding concerns.

Wainhomes appealed against the decision and a public inquiry was held over two weeks in February and March 2024. Following the inquiry, the Government’s planning inspector, Katie McDonald, noted that there was an acute shortage of housing in the area, including affordable housing, and that this was a material consideration during the appeal.

The inspector was also persuaded that the development would deliver some off-site highway works that, in her opinion, would be beneficial. But the applicant failed to satisfy concerns regarding flooding, particularly a requirement that new housing development should be directed to sites that are sequentially preferable in terms of flood risk.

This, said the inspector, was “of overriding substantial weight, given that there could be other sites that are sequentially preferable to develop that would avoid flood risk”. The inspector concluded that the matter was sufficient to outweigh the “totality of matters weighing in favour of the proposal”.

Councillor Sandra Thornberry, chair of the Planning and Regulatory Committee, welcomed the decision and the clarity provided by the inspector regarding developers’ obligations concerning flood risk.

“The city council was of the view that this housing development was unacceptable for a combination of reasons,” she said.

“I’m pleased that the inspector’s conclusions on flood risk were so explicit, and it is equally pleasing that her comments echo the professional opinion of our planning officers and of the members of the Planning Regulatory Committee. I would advise all developers to take note of the inspector’s conclusions regarding flood risk.”

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