Unfortunately, the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government has decided not to use his powers to “call-in” the two Menston Planning Applications (Derry Hill and Bingley Road) for his own scrutiny. Apparently, whether there has been procedural error or maladministration (as many of us believe), Ministers take the view that there are no national policy implications in the plans which would cause the Secretary of State to take the power of determination away from Bradford Council.
In the reply on behalf of the Secretary of State, the National Planning Casework Unit sets out a reminder that the local authority – in this case, Bradford – has a responsibility to consider whether the development requires a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). There is no evidence that Bradford MDC has conducted an EIA: if it has, then it has not published it on its website and, thus, would have failed to consult. If a comprehensive EIA was to be conducted, then it would be obvious that the land under the brow of the moorland ridge (where both the Derry Hill and Bingley Road sites are located) is subject to retention of groundwater to the point of saturation, and that construction on those sites would lead to an increase in drainage problems and an exacerbation of the flooding frequently experienced by local properties.
Menston’s representative bodies half-expected that the Secretary of State would look at the plans but decide not to intervene, so progress continues towards the Judicial Review of both Planning Applications.