Democracy and planning rules overrule human rights in appeal for new Renhold home

Bricks - Building

Planning rules were deemed to be more important than the human rights of a man who wanted to convert a holiday chalet into a permanent home.

James Gill, of Renhold, appealed to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate after Bedford Borough Council refused his retrospective application for the riverside plot B at The Brambles, in Water Lane.

Mr Gill had claimed that someone would be made homeless if the appeal was thrown out, but that did not sway inspector Anne Denby. She visited the site in February.

“Whilst I acknowledge that the consequence of dismissing the appeal would interfere with the occupants’ rights,” said Ms Denby, “there is little in the evidence before me to identify who the occupant is or sufficiently demonstrate that they have no other options and would be rendered homeless.”

She added that in any case, dismissing Mr Gill’s appeal was still “proportionate and necessary”.

Ms Denby added that human rights had to be balanced against other matters.

In this case it was “in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society.”

She added that in this case the only way to adequately safeguard  “legitimate and well-established planning policy” was to refuse permission.

“The protection of the public interest cannot be achieved by means that are less interfering of their rights,” she added in her decision made on Monday, April 20.

The inspector judged that the main issue is whether the site is an appropriate location for housing.

She ruled that the site was not in an appropriate area for development, despite being in an area with other similar homes.

It is also not in easy walking distance of services and facilities in Great Barford or Renhold.

“Great Barford is a significant walking distance from the site and St Neots Road,” she said, “which changes to Bedford Road on the approach to the settlement, is subject to the national speed limit.

“Attempting to walk alongside the road with fast moving traffic may put anyone attempting to do so at considerable risk.”

There are also no bus stops close by, leaving the occupants “largely dependent” on the private car.

This is against the council’s policy of making sure developments are well served by public transport, and protecting the countryside.

Ms Denby also rejected an argument that barns were converted to a home at the nearby Harrison Hill Farm.

by Local Democracy Reporter
David Tooley

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