St Albans Council pays cost of planning mix up

PUBLISHED: 19:27 09 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:30 06 May 2010

COSTS have been awarded against the district council following a mix-up over planning drawings at an informal hearing into a controversial proposal to develop a village education centre. A partial award of costs was made to Persimmon, the developers who w

COSTS have been awarded against the district council following a mix-up over planning drawings at an informal hearing into a controversial proposal to develop a village education centre.

A partial award of costs was made to Persimmon, the developers who want to build 68 houses on the northern part of the former Wheathampstead School site in Butterfield Road.

The hearing was scheduled to last for only one day in July but confusion over a particular set of plans relevant to the scheme led to delays in the morning and the remainder of the hearing being put back a week.

It prompted angry members of the public who had taken time off work to attend to complain that they had just been left sitting there.

Unnecessary delays

Persimmon claimed that the council's failure to cooperate in agreeing facts or supplying relevant information resulted in unnecessary delays during the hearing.

The council argued that it had not acted unreasonably and disagreement over which drawings should be considered was raised at a late stage by Persimmon.

But planning inspector Elizabeth Lawrence ruled that the uncertainty had arisen because various substitute drawings had been lost by the council at the application stage and it had failed to respond when the developers tried to resolve the matter before the hearing.

The inspector dismissed Persimmon's appeal into the council's decision to refuse the scheme because of the effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area. But she accepted a second appeal relating to restrictions on the height of the roof space on the development.

The scheme already has outline planning permission.

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