Bradford Council has been left with a bill for costs after the owners of an animal rendering plant won a planning appeal against it.
Leo Group, which runs the Omega Proteins plant at Erling Works in Half Acre Road, Denholme, had requested a public appeal hearing to rule on how much involvement the Council should have in its operations on site. And it asked for the lifting of a number of conditions imposed when it was granted planning permission for a rendering plant and a filter bed in 2010.
At the two-day hearing last November, the Leo Group argued the site had been burdened with unnecessary conditions, which included the restriction of certain development rights and outside storage.
At the inquiry the Council had maintained the condition was needed to control what was built on the site “in the interests of visual amenity and to ensure sufficient space is available for the manoeuvring of vehicles in the interests of highway safety.”
But deciding the appeal, Planning Inspector Richard Clegg has removed both that condition and one banning open air lorry off-loading, as well as revising others.
Mr Clegg also ordered the Council to pay costs Omega incurred for contesting the permitted development rights condition, stating it did not produce evidence to justify it in the first place and therefore had behaved unreasonably in that instance.
Reacting to the decision, Brian Maguire, Leo Group property manager, said: “Bradford Council has attempted to enforce a condition which has been in place for 14 years and the Inspector has found the condition to be unreasonable. Omega Proteins has been the subject of continuous political interference, and this was another attempt, by the Council, to micro-manage the operations on site.
“Our view is supported by the Inspector who concluded that ‘the Council behaved unreasonably in respect of the substance of the case, which resulted in expenditure being incurred unnecessarily in pursuing the appeal.
“Yet again, Bradfordians are footing a bill for tens of thousands of pounds due to the Council’s unreasonable behaviour.”
Julian Jackson, the Council’s assistant director planning, transportation and highways, said: “The Council believes that the protection of the Green Belt and landscape is extremely important.
“Consequently the request by the company to remove a condition restricting the erection of plant and machinery on the Erlings Works site without obtaining the Council’s permission in the first instance, was refused at the regulatory and appeal committee in July 2013.
“The company appealed the Council’s decision and although two previous inspectors in 2002 and 2010 had attached a similar condition to their appeal decisions, the inspector in the November 2013 appeal took a different view.
“He allowed the appeal, thereby permitting the company to erect plant and machinery without the Council’s permission within the confines of its site.