Local Council’s EIA Screening Opinion Overturned

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The Decision: “Overall, the Secretary of State is not persuaded that the potential impacts derived from the proposal are of sufficient complexity or magnitude to suggest that it is EIA* development. He considers that the identified potential impacts…could be assessed as part of specialist studies/reports submitted… [and]…has therefore decided that an environmental statement is not required”

A significant benchmark case for Parker Planning Services. Here we clearly set out our reasoning and presented weighty supporting evidence to back our case.

The development site is on the edge of Newmarket town centre, nr Cambridge and allocated in the Site Allocations Local Plan (2019) for a major mixed use development including 50 homes. This proposal is to increase the provision to 123 homes, a new convenience store, re-use of the existing public house, and bringing back into use a group of existing Listed Buildings. Overall, the local council (West Suffolk) decided this would have “permanent and irreversible effects”. Subsequently, they issued a Screening Opinion stating that the proposal is EIA development and would require an Environmental Statement.

This EIA request would lead to notable costs, time-delays, and the need to commission additional weighty reports, for the client.

Having closely considered the Councils position – we challenged this decision and requested a Screening Direction through the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State supported our presentation and view, and concluded that the proposed development did not constitute EIA development and that an environmental statement was not required.’

Parker Planning Services ensured that the justifications given to the Secretary of State were clearly defined and presented, allowing the right decision to be reached.  This decision led to notable cost and time savings for the client.

*What is an EIA? Find out more about  Environmental Impact Assessment 

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