Overstepping the mark

An inspector has ruled that a north Wales council overstepped the mark when it attached a condition requiring tactile paving at a nearby pedestrian crossing to the planning permission for change of use of a shop to car sales premises (DCS Number 400-030-631).

The reason given by the council for attaching the condition was “in the interests of highway safety”. The inspector explained that a condition can be used to mitigate the impact of a development but not to solve an existing problem which it would not exacerbate. He agreed that providing a tactile pedestrian crossing on the road would improve pedestrian safety. However, he was not persuaded that the works were necessary in order for the development to proceed. 

The premises had previously been used as a petrol station, vehicle sales, a large convenience shop and for the sale and display of mobility equipment. It seemed to the inspector more likely that the proposed use of the site for vehicle sales and associated goods would generate less pedestrian traffic than the current lawful use of the site. He concluded that the requirement for a pedestrian tactile crossing failed to meet the tests in Circular 14/16 The Use of Conditions in Development Management in that it was not necessary for the development to proceed, not relevant to the development to be permitted and, therefore, was unreasonable. He deleted the condition, awarding costs to the appellant. 

The tests for conditions are given at section 6.1372 of DCP Online.