Today it has been announced that the Inspector has recommended that planning permission be granted. The Secretary of State agrees with her conclusions and agrees with her recommendation. The Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector that the fundamental issue in this case is whether the intended development, and in particular the access/egress to and from the development, would be safe for its users and remain safe throughout the lifetime of the development. The Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector that the Sequential Test and Exception Test are not to be applied and that it is appropriate to consider flood risk across the whole lifetime of the development. The Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector that the benefits of the proposal to the outstanding heritage asset of Fort Gilkicker would be significant and substantial.
The Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector at IR179 that while there could be some loss of species from the banks to be excavated, that does not amount to evidence of material harm to the adjacent area of national nature conservation importance, or to evidence that any of the species concerned would be permanently displaced. For the reasons given at IR181, the Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector that as a material consideration to set against the restoration of the Fort Gilkicker heritage asset, the impact on the golf course is not of decisive or substantial weight.
The Secretary of State concludes that the proposed development is in line with the development plan and would offer significant benefits in terms of the restoration of an important heritage asset. Although there is some conflict with national policy on flooding, he considers that the residual risk to future residents is capable of management and concludes that there are no material considerations which indicate that the application should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan.
Accordingly, for the reasons given above, the Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector’s recommendation. He hereby grants planning permission for the restoration of Grade II* Scheduled Ancient Monument, conversion to 26 dwellings, residents’ stores and interpretation room, alteration of 2 mounds to create public viewing points and improvement of access road and junction, in accordance with application number K.9316/7, dated 20 August 2008, subject to the conditions set out at Annex A.