But fears of an appeal meant they could rely on just one to turn down residential plans for Lancaster Lane.
Kirklees councillors refused the housing bid in April but were asked to agree to a formal reason – they agreed to base their argument against on ‘residential amenity’ impact.
But it was far from simple – councillors compiled a list of reasons to reject the plan, but the council’s planning officers warned them “not to throw the book at it” and instead come up with “justifiable grounds” for rejecting the housing.
Councillors felt that the urban greenspace designation of the land would stand up on appeal; they had concerns at the loss of allotment land without alternative provision being made; concerns about the suitability of the land for highway access; and impact on the stability of the banking on a major road.
Simon Taylor, head of planning, urged councillors: “The context for us is we want to give you something you can defend if this ends up at appeal.
“You need to make some judgements that are measured and I would urge you not just to throw the book at this application, we need to think about what evidence we can collate and present to the inspector that will be robust at appeal.”
He said highways had assessed the access points which were found to be adequate and the traffic from 22 houses was not significant that it would cause problems on its own.
Council ecology experts said there was evidence of protected species using the land, but no evidence of residence and he felt there could be ‘effective’ mitigation.
The loss of allotment land wasn’t a strong enough argument, either.
Council papers also warned there would likely be costs awarded against the council if they made ‘unreasonable’ refusal decisions.
Planners advised that the impact on residential amenity of adjacent properties was subjective enough to be argued and it was that reason alone they rejected it.
The application had previously been considered in April along with a second application for a nearby site.
At the time councillors queried why the two sites had come forward for development separately when there appeared to be family links between the applicants and they questioned if the applicants were seeking to avoid planning contributions.