When it comes to assessing the environmental impact of developments, planners must consider projects as a whole and refrain from salami-slicing them into their constituent parts. That issue arose in a case in which planning permission was granted for a link road to serve a development of 4,000 new homes.
The road was to be part of a bypass for which there had been a longstanding need in order to draw traffic away from the centre of a market town. However, its funding depended on a substantial contribution from the developers of the residential site, whose plans could only go ahead if the new road was built.
In challenging the planning consent, a rival developer argued that the road and the housing development were so interconnected as to form a single project. However, arguments that the relevant local authority had failed to consider their cumulative environmental impact did not persuade the High Court.
In rejecting the rival developer’s challenge to that decision, the Court of Appeal found that there was a strong planning imperative to build the road which had nothing to do with the development of the residential site. Although the housing development could not be granted planning permission unless the road was built, the converse was not true. The funding arrangements for the road did not bear on its planning merits and the council was justified in treating it as an independent project.