Setting a National Precedent
We have recently received the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) ruling on the planning use of the North Quay building. We have now examined the findings.
The PINS decision confirms that North Quay is planning use B1a.
Our two counsel opinions both highlighted the fine judgement between whether to classify the building as B1a or Sui Generis. They both favoured Sui Generis, meaning ‘one of a kind’. The inspector’s interpretation of the law favoured the alternative.
It has taken PINS in excess of 13 months to make a decision. This highlights how complex the decision making process was. We believe it will set case precedent nationally as only the second of its kind – and a contrast to the County Hall London decision which went the opposite way.
The inspector stressed that they recognised the council had a reasonable argument. This is clear in their conclusion that the council has not acted unreasonably resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense for NQWL.
Therefore, costs have not been awarded against the council. We can move on from this swiftly. We do not believe the decision has any bearing on future development on the site.
We are now developing opportunities for the site to best enhance the south side of the Harbour. This will involve demolishing the current building and developing the site to secure a mix of uses. We are considering a mix of residential, commercial and local parking.
We are in early stage talks with Public Sector PLC [PSP], which can help to unlock various funding streams and move this project forward. The future of this flagship site remains, as ever, a key focus of our members and officers.