Fans of cricket will be delighted to know that the Court of Appeal has upheld the validity of a planning permission that, alongside permission for a Tesco's superstore, would see the redevelopment of the Old Trafford Cricket Ground with a stadium suitable for international cricket.
The permission, arising from a joint application made by Tesco and Lancashire County Cricket Club, was granted in 2010 but subject to judicial review brought by Derwent Holdings. Part of Derwent's challenge was a claim that committee members, in making their decision, had misdirected themselves in considering how the wider benefits of the cricket ground redevelopment may offset planning disbenefits in relation to the Tesco element of the proposal. It was Derwent's submission that these elements should be considered entirely separately.
The court dismissed the appeal on all grounds, distinguishing this situation from that in the case of R (Sainsbury's) v Wolverhampton City Council (2010) (see our related article here). In the present case, the two elements were reasonably included in a single application and were sufficiently and directly related both in terms of the proximity of the sites for each element and the physical linkage via a pedestrian walkway. Even if the committee members had taken account of the overall benefits of the two elements to this joint application, the court did not agree that this was legally objectionable.
This case illustrates that there are complex arguments to deal with when considering proposals cross-subsidising development elsewhere. They key is to ensure that all elements in such applications are reasonably related and that relationship is crystal clear if a subsequent decision on it is to avoid successful legal challenge.
Derwent Holdings Ltd v (1) Trafford Borough Council (2)Tesco Stores Limited (3) Lancashire County Cricket Club (2011)