There’s no doubt planning inspector David Pinner based his decision on what should happen at the former Bridge End Cattle Market site according to the rules and regulations.
But his ruling to uphold an appeal against a Leeds City Council enforcement notice does, however, raise the question of ‘opinion’.
The view of many people, including the city council, is that the site is an ‘eyesore’ and has been deteriorating since 2005.
It needs to be cleaned up.
Mr Pinner has ruled that the insistence on the landowners returning the site to a green field was ‘unreasonable’. How does that phrase squash and square with guidelines?
Times are tough for developers but it would not have been unreasonable for Parkmount Estates to have taken a lead and done what it could to keep the site safe and tidy, easier on the eye.
This would probably have avoided Leeds City Council having to make a more than reasonable request to have the conservation area plot tidied, levelled and grassed.
Had Parkmount Estates been more reasonable there would have been no need to issue an enforcement notice and no doubt run up a huge bill out of the public purse at the same time.
There are those who are still looking on the bright side, saying the inspector’s ruling is not a total defeat as the landowner put forward a unilateral undertaking at the inquiry to demolish the remaining buildings and remove the ugly metal fencing.
Mr Pinner says Parkmount Estates’ offer to carry out more limited work would go a significant way towards ensuring the appearance of the land would be improved.
We don’t think it is unreasonable for that work to begin as soon as possible.
It is also not unreasonable to ask, as one of the campaigners has — what is the point of conservation area policy if the Planning Inspectorate is unable to come up with a decision that gives it teeth?