“Highly controversial” Newcastle Quayside permission quashed

Newcastle Quayside

Mr Justice Holgate has quashed the decision by an Inspector, following a public inquiry, to grant permission for 289 apartments on the Newcastle Quayside.

The judgment is particularly useful in explaining the relationship between paragraph 195 NPPF (the requirement to minimise conflict between a proposal and a heritage asset), and the assessment of the level of harm that a proposal would cause to a heritage asset, so that the tests in paragraph 200-202 NPPF may be applied (less than substantial harm and substantial harm).

The Judge found that the Inspector had taken into account a legally irrelevant consideration in assessing the level of harm caused to the neighbouring Grade I listed Church (paras 60-79). Even if the level of harm has been “minimised”, that says nothing about what that “minimised” level of harm amounts to. In any given case harm to a heritage asset might be “minimised” by the design solution selected, but nevertheless still be “substantial”, or at the upper end or in the middle of the “less than substantial harm” range. This legal error also tainted the basis on which the Inspector disagreed with Historic England.

The Judge dismissed two further grounds of challenge, relating to deliverability as a material consideration (paras 84-97) and the Inspector’s assessment of the effect on living conditions (paras 99-104). The Judge also noted that the proposed scheme had proven to be “highly controversial”, however reiterated that the role of the Court is limited to errors of law (paras 4-6).

Anjoli Foster acted for Newcastle City Council at both the planning inquiry and in the High Court.

The judgment can be found here, and BBC news coverage of the case can be found here.

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