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THUMBS-DOWN FOR OFFICES AND HOMES NEXT TO CHEMICAL PLANT

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Wakefield MDC was left with a near£50,000 legal bill after it admitted at London's high court that it made an erro...
Wakefield MDC was left with a near £50,000 legal bill after it admitted at London's high court that it made an error in giving the thumbs up to an office and residential development next to a chemical plant in the town.

In a procedural hearing lasting only seconds, Mr Justice Mackay formally approved a court order quashing the planning approval for the redevelopment of the former Skill Centre on Doncaster Road as offices, residential development and leisure use, including restaurants.

The court order was drawn up by consent between the council and Brotherton Speciality Products, which runs a nearby chemical plant and which claimed that the development would increase the risk it poses to the public and force strict regulations upon its operations.

The order formally quashes the council's decision last September to grant 'reserved matters approval' - consent to the finer details of a planning permission it granted in outline in March 1999 - for the development. It means the council will have to reconsider what, if any, development is permissible on the Skill Centre site.

Under the order, the council has also agreed to pay Wakefield-based Brotherton £46,275 legal costs.

Brotherton, a subsidiary of US firm Church & Dwight Co Inc, of Princeton, New Jersey, manufactures chemicals using hazardous materials at its plant near the development site, and took legal action against the planning approval claiming that the development would significantly increase the risk to the public and resulting severe restrictions of its operations.

It claimed that the increase in the number of people within so-called 'risk zones' surrounding its plant, and the implications on their vulnerability and the ease of evacuating the area in an emergency, would lead to more stringent regulations being imposed on it. This, it claimed, would lead to a loss of production and business.

In the face of this legal action, the council has now consented to its decision being quashed

The order, agreed by solicitors for both the council and Brotherton, states: 'The parties now agree that the reserved matters approval should be quashed on the following grounds: that on the facts of the case, the council was in error in failing to consider the risk implications of the development at reserved matters stage; and that on the facts of the case the council was in error in failing to formally consult the Health and Safety Executive and the claimant.'

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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