Bradford Council has been ordered to pay partial legal costs after the owners of an animal-rendering plant won a planning appeal against it.
Leo Group, which runs the Omega Proteins plant at Erling Works in Half Acre Road, Denholme, had requested a public appeal to decide how much involvement the council should have in its operations and asked for conditions imposed when it was granted planning permission for a rendering plant and filter bed in 2010 to be lifted.
At the two-day hearing last November, Leo Group argued the site had been burdened with unnecessary conditions, which included the restriction of certain development rights and outside storage and a ban on the off-loading of HGVs, except inside plant buildings.
At the inquiry, the council had maintained the former condition was needed to control what was built on the site “in the interests of visual amenity and to ensure sufficient space is available for the manoeuvring of vehicles in the interests of highway safety”.
But deciding the appeal, planning inspector Richard Clegg has removed both that condition and the one banning open-air lorry off-loading, as well as revising others.
Mr Clegg also ordered the council to pay costs Omega incurred for contesting the permitted development rights condition, stating it did not produce evidence to justify it in the first place and therefore had behaved unreasonably.
Reacting to the decision, Brian Maguire, Leo Group property manager, said: “We are delighted that once again the Planning Inspectorate has found in favour of Omega Proteins.
“Omega Proteins has been the subject of continuous political interference and this was another attempt by the council to micro-manage the operations on site.
“Yet again, Bradfordians are footing a bill for tens of thousands of pounds due to the council’s unreasonable behaviour.”
Julian Jackson, the council’s assistant director of planning, transportation and highways, said: “The council believes the protection of the green belt and landscape is extremely important.
“Consequently the request by the company to remove a condition restricting the erection of plant and machinery on the site without obtaining the council’s permission in the first instance was refused at the regulatory and appeal committee in July 2013.
“The company appealed against the council’s decision and although two previous inspectors in 2002 and 2010 had attached a similar condition to their appeal decisions, the inspector in the November 2013 appeal took a different view.”