Larkfleet challenge to Grantham link road fails in the Court of Appeal

Larkfleet failed to persuade the Court of Appeal that the link road to the south of Grantham should be regarded as part of the same “project” as the SUE which it would serve.

Objectors use the “salami slicing” principle to challenge permissions arguing that a development should be regarded as part of a bigger scheme. The SUE allocation post dated the policy decision to build a southern bypass to the town. It was always contemplated that the SUE would contribute to the road cost.

The road application included an environmental statement treating the road as the “project” – but with the ES considering the effects of the road cumulatively with the SUE. The SUE application was submitted several months after grant of permission for the road.

Larkfleet argued: a) that the road and SUE were so interrelated that they should have been regarded as a single project for EIA purposes, and b) even if the road was a separate project, the ES had failed properly to assess the cumulative effects.

The Court found that although the schemes were linked, it was appropriate to regard them as separate projects for EIA. The Court placed weight on the fact that there was “a strong planning imperative” for the road unrelated to the SUE. Also, detail on the SUE scheme was not sufficiently advanced to meet the timetable of the road application.

The Court considered the question of whether this question is properly one for the decision maker (and therefore challengeable only on Wednesbury grounds) – but came to the view that a decision on that point was unnecessary.

On the second ground, the applicant had done all that could reasonably be required in assessing likely cumulative effects.

R (on the application of Larkfleet Ltd) v South Kesteven District Council (2015)

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