The Claimant and Interested Party each had planning applications before the Defendant which were capable of meeting an identified need for a crematorium in the area of Aylesbury. The judge held  that having regard to the potential of a development to impact on a European Protected Species, planning permission for a development should normally be granted if it is found acceptable on its planning merits unless in the local planning authority’s view the proposed development would be likely to offend article 12(1) of the Habitats Directive and unlikely to be licensed under the derogation powers. Whether a licence is likely to be granted is governed by Natural England guidance which provides that a licence to harm a protected species will only be granted where it is satisfied that there is no satisfactory alternative. Where, as here, the Claimant had before the Council an application for development of its own site which involved no adverse impact on protected species, that should have been brought to the attention of the Committee deciding the impugned planning application as a potential alternative.
Alex Goodman acted for the Claimant Westerleigh Group Limited.
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