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Appeal Success, Gildersome

Spawforths have secured planning permission on appeal on behalf of JW Crowther & Son Limited for change of use of a former window manufacture and sales site to storage and maintenance of vehicles and plant, offices and associated parking and access in connection with their existing business in Gildersome, Leeds.

J W Crowther and Son Ltd is a family operated business that has been established for 150 years at their existing site. The business operates a fleet of vehicles from their existing premises and offers a range of services including haulage, excavation, cleansing and environmental services, drainage surveying, cleaning and maintenance, vehicle maintenance, winter maintenance and plant hire. J W Crowther and Son currently employ 42 permanent staff, and takes on in the region of 20 additional temporary, seasonal staff each winter season.

The proposals will have various benefits for the business, including enabling its more efficient operation and facilitating health and safety improvements for employees above the basic requirements of current legislation. The existing business has also outgrown its existing office accommodation and the proposals include the use of an existing building on the site to provide additional office space in connection with the operation.

When the application had been considered by the Council in late 2014, officers had recommended approval, but when Members of the Planning Committee considered the proposals at a meeting in November 2014 they refused planning permission. The Planning Committee’s reason for refusal identified concerns about the potential for the use to generate vehicle movements associated with the comings and goings of heavy goods vehicles and maintenance activity in close proximity to existing residential dwellings. This was in the context of the site having a long history of use by other businesses, including haulage and vehicle repair uses.
 
The appeal proceeded at an informal hearing in July, at which Spawforths appeared as representatives of J W Crowther & Son alongside an expert noise consultant. On the basis of the submissions led by Spawforths, which included consideration of the lawful use of the site and the ‘fallback position’ alongside a detailed noise impact assessment and noise attenuation scheme, the Inspector concluded that the proposals “would not have any unacceptable noise impacts on the living conditions of occupiers of nearby residential properties” and he therefore granted planning permission.
 
Spawforths were also successful in securing an award of costs against Leeds City Council on behalf of the client, as we were able to demonstrate to the Inspector that the Council had behaved unreasonably during the course of the appeal. J W Crowther was therefore able to reclaim from the Council some of the costs incurred in pursuing the appeal.

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