Following Harrogate Borough Council’s approval for the building of a new Tesco superstore, a request for a call-in was made by the Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce on a number of grounds. One of the grounds was safety concerns with the store being adjacent to a gas storage facility.
From 20 April 2009 a new directive requires Local Planning Authorities in England to notify the Secretary of State before granting planning permission for certain types of development. It also gives the Secretary of State the opportunity to decide whether to call-in the application.
The Health and Safety Executive have been investigating and have now concluded their findings.
A spokesperson for the Health and Safety Executive commented:
After careful consideration of this case, HSE has decided not to request call-in.
However, HSE’s land use planning advice remains that there are sufficient safety grounds to refuse permission for the development. HSE’s decision not to request call-in in this case does not mean that this advice is withdrawn.
The Health and Safety Executive is a statutory consultee in the planning process. HSE advises on planning matters, but the local authority makes the decisions on them.
The presence of natural gas pipelines in the vicinity of the development is not a determining factor in this planning application. Any issues relating to the gas pipelines will be regulated operationally in the normal way.
The Chamber of Trade and Commerce have also written to Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State, Department for Communities & Local Government requesting a call-in of the planning application on 6 grounds:
Traffic Congestion – contrary to Planning Policy PPS1 and Core Policy TRA2.
Road Safety – not adequately considered in view of nearby local schools & nursery.
Gas Safety – contrary to HSE PADHI+ “ADVISE AGAINST” & HSE Circular 04/2000.
Retail Trade Impact – contrary to Planning Policy PPS4, Policies EC10.2 & EC17.
Inadequate Mitigation measures – contrary to Circular 05/05 and Core Policy C1.
Planning Committee procedure – inadequate publicity & insufficient time to speak
It is is still possible that the plans are subject to a call-in, but the likelihood of that happening is difficult to predict.