No less than five previous planning applications to Harrogate Borough Council – and three separate public inquiries – vetoed plans to develop the Kirby Hill site near Boroughbridge.
Were all these decisions wrong? The Planning Inspectorate’s David Rose appears to suggest so after granting outline permission – subject to certain conditions – following a 14-day public inquiry.
Yet, while Mr Rose’s duty was to effectively interpret Government guidelines presided over at present by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, the consequences of the decision to ignore the wishes of local residents – and elected local councillors – is far more profound and perturbing.
Is this inquiry seriously suggesting that the threat to public health, and countryside, is less now than at any time previously in the past 25 years?
Is this inquiry aware that there are countless former service stations along the A1M in North Yorkshire where appropriate facilities could be located?
Is this inquiry remotely aware that the UK is the host of the COP26 climate change summit this year and such decisions suggest that the needs of motorists will always come before environmental considerations?
No wonder campaigners are so aggrieved. They have every right to be. After all, this decision suggests the people who will breathe in the air from this scheme matter less than those who breathe it out. That cannot be right, can it?