Hobart wins appeal to run extra truck
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Upper tribunal judge overturns IC's decision to allow extra truck on 0-licence By Roger Brown Operator: Hobart Court Property Management Matter: 0-licence law Appeal hearing: London Judge: Michael Brodrick HOBART COURT Property
Management has won an appeal to add an extra truck to its 0-licence authorisation.
In a written decision, upper tribunal judge Michael Brodrick overturned the decision by South East traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton, who had refused the company permission for an additional vehicle at its base in Bumpkin Shaw Yard, Hastings, following a public inquiry (PI) in May 2013 in Eastbourne.
At the PI, a local resident, John Kent, told the TC that noise and fumes from the first vehicle penetrated his house and that this would be made worse by the proposed second vehicle.
The TC asked whether Kent's opposition could be withdrawn if the firm parked its vehicles further away from his house, to which Kent said it would.
But the firm said it didn't have room to park in that location because containers were already parked there.
A Vosa traffic examiner had visited the Bumpkin Shaw Yard site and concluded that, if the hours of vehicle movements were limited, there was enough space to increase the number of vehicles parked at the site from one to two.
During the PI, one of the firm's directors, Philip Rijke-Pearson, offered to mitigate the effect of the extra vehicle by putting up a 2m fence between the yard and the residential property. However, the local authority told the TC that the firm did not have planning permission to park LGVs in the part of
the yard where it proposed to park the second vehicle and was already parking its existing vehicle.
The TC refused the application, saying the effects of another vehicle on residents' comfort outweighed the legitimate commercial interests of the company.
On appeal, the company said the TC had allowed the residents to introduce too much irrelevant material at the inquiry and that it had also been wrong that he had approached Rother District Council for further information about the site after the hearing had ended.
Judge Brodrick said criticisms of the way in which the inquiry was conducted were unfounded.
"In our view, the TC is to be commended rather than criticised for his conduct," he explained.
However, the judge went on to say that the TC had been "plainly wrong" in failing to give the parties the opportunity to comment on the additional information he had received from the council.
"In our view, where the new material goes to an important issue in the public inquiry, the only fair course is to provide an opportunity to comment on and/or challenge any new material that the traffic commissioner is intending to take into account," he added. Summing up
Judge Brodrick allowed the appeal and said the firm could add a second authorised vehicle with conditions imposing some restrictions relating to vehicle movements and parking.