Agenda item

20160215 - Tollgate Hotel, Watling Street, Gravesend DA13 9RA

Decision:

Resolved that, having regard to:

-        all of the grounds of challenge in the Judicial Review claim brought against the Borough Council that resulted in the quashing on 26 June 2018 of the decision to grant planning permission on 7 February 2018, and

-        the failure of the applicants to respond directly to the Borough Council to those grounds of challenge or to the Council’s Advice Note sent to the applicants on 26 July 2018 with any additional or revised information, documents or plans,

that, if it had been possible to determine the current planning application prior to the submission of the appeal against non-determination, the Board would have REFUSED to grant planning permission.

Minutes:

Further to the meeting of the Board held on 7 February 2018 when Members considered application reference 20160215 for the demolition of all the former Tollgate hotel and restaurant and construction of a petrol filling station and forecourts, sales building, ATM, underground fuel tanks, refuse/recycling, AC/refrigeration units, vehicular access, substation, parking and all associated works and services on part of the site and a decision was made to grant planning permission. This decision was also the subject of a legal challenge by the owner of the Tollgate Service Station who had brought about the judicial review claims in relation to the 2013 planning application as on four grounds as set out in the report.

This application had been referred for consideration by the Board because a decision was required in relation to an appeal by the applicant against non-determination by the Council.

The Principal Planner advised that, following legal advice taken by the Borough Council, it had been consented on 21 June 2018 to quash the decision and for the application to be remitted for re-determination, on the single and first ground only that the Council had relied upon a comparison between the impacts of the development and the impacts of a resumed hotel use actually taking place in the event that the development was not granted planning permission and that the Council had accordingly failed to have regard to a material consideration. The three other grounds of challenge in the Judicial Review claim were not conceded by the Borough Council.

A planning appeal was received by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) against non-determination on 20 March 2019 as more than 13 weeks had elapsed following the decision to remit the application for re-determination. The planning application would therefore be determined by a Planning Inspector (not the Borough Council) and the intention was that the appeal would be dealt with by way of an informal hearing. The start date of the planning appeal against non-determination had been held in abeyance pending the reporting of the appeal to the Board with the expectation that the Borough Council would then be in a position to give a clear view on what, if it had been possible, the Council’s decision on the appealed planning application would have been.

The Board was given a short summary of the planning history of the site together with a description of the proposals contained in the application. The Principal Planner concluded that no new information or evidence had been received by the Council and no reply had been received with regard to the Advice note sent to the applicant by the Council on 26 July 2019. Therefore, the report recommended refusal on the grounds set out on pages 31 and 32 of the report. The Board was advised that their decision would be reported to the Planning Inspectorate.

The Board heard the views of the public speaker.

The following points were made during discussion on this application:

·         Support was expressed for the development of the site. However given the applicant’s late submission of evidence and lack of clarity it was felt that refusal was the correct decision.

·         Concern was expressed that the site had been allowed to deteriorate into an unsightly mess.

·         It was suggested that the ongoing review of the Council’s Local Plan would be a good opportunity to resolve Green Belt issues on sites such as this.

Resolved that, having regard to:

-        all of the grounds of challenge in the Judicial Review claim brought against the Borough Council that resulted in the quashing on 26 June 2018 of the decision to grant planning permission on 7 February 2018, and

-        the failure of the applicants to respond directly to the Borough Council to those grounds of challenge or to the Council’s Advice Note sent to the applicants on 26 July 2018 with any additional or revised information, documents or plans,

that, if it had been possible to determine the current planning application prior to the submission of the appeal against non-determination, the Board would have REFUSED to grant planning permission.

(Cllr Meade requested that his vote in support of the resolution above, be recorded.)

Note:   Mr Julian Sutton (an objector) addressed the Board.

Supporting documents: