After a long legal tussle it has finally been settled: a 1,000-cow ‘super-dairy’ CAN be built within the settings of Offa’s Dyke and other important heritage assets. An original approval was overturned by a planning inspector, mainly on the basis it would cause “considerable harm” to the landscape and the setting of heritage assets. But that in turn was overruled by the Welsh ministers on the grounds that the economic advantages of the scheme were compelling. Now The High Court has upheld the Welsh government’s decision, ruling that they had not failed to pay ‘special regard’ to the impact that the development would have on heritage assets and had taken relevant considerations into account in deciding that priority should be given to the economic benefits of the scheme.


No problem with that per se. Sometimes developers must win else the country would grind to a halt. But note, the system merely requires that the Government ministers should take all relevant considerations into account, not that in mulling them over they can’t be biased in favour of development. Indeed, there’s a presumption in favour of it.

But has that been taken to extreme? Is there anything to stop the degree of bias running out of control? Well, as mentioned yesterday, according to the CPRE, in the past year more than two thirds of major housing developments turned down by local councils and taken to appeal were eventually approved. How come, ref?  Shouldn’t decisions go fifty-fifty? Are Heritage United being treated unfairly despite a rule book that gives the impression they aren’t?

No goal!  (But don't complain. In reaching his decision the ref DID have  ‘special regard’ to the position of the ball).

No goal!
(But don’t complain. In reaching his decision the ref  DID have ‘special regard’ to the position of the ball).