Interesting Appeal Decisions
Seaside appeal dismissed after Inspector takes different tack to Woolpit on allocations (Pre-Woolpit)
An appeal for 175 dwellings in Clacton on Sea was dismissed after the Inspector concluded that the LPA could demonstrate a 5.09 years supply of housing, meaning emerging allocations should not be discounted for prematurity reasons, as argued by the appellant. As such, paragraph 11(d) was not engaged and the weight afforded to the benefit of 175 dwellings was significantly reduced. Further to this, and despite the Inspector agreeing that saved policy EN2 was out of date, moderate weight was given to the policy as it broadly aligned with the Framework. Consequently the harm to the character and appearance of the area, alongside the LPA’s 5 year supply of housing, led to the Inspector dismissing the appeal.
An Inspector dismissed an appeal for 19 dwellings against the decision of Wirral Council. As the site is located entirely within the green belt the appellant argued that it should be classified as an exception site as it was previously developed with a series of vacant overgrown glasshouses and retail use. However, the Inspector found the retail element was ancillary to the agricultural use as no permission for this element had been originally sought and as a result the site did not fall within the definition of previously developed land but purely agricultural. Moreover, in regard to the character and appearance of the area as the current buildings predominantly consist of glasshouses (although permanent structures), their lightweight low-level construction does give the site a sense of spaciousness which the proposed scheme would erode and thus cause harm. Although the Inspector was satisfied other issues including living conditions and flooding could be overcome, the appeal was ultimately dismissed.
An appeal against South Cambridgeshire for 15 dwellings has been dismissed. The Inspector found that despite the provision of market and affordable homes in an area where there is a pressing need for new housing, the scale and location of the scheme would promote an unsustainable pattern of development due to the settlement’s lack of facilities and sustainable public transport. It was also found that development would result in overlooking on properties of an adjacent caravan site that would be harmful to the living conditions of existing occupiers. Furthermore, it was concluded that the authority are currently able to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, ultimately leading the Inspector to dismiss the appeal.
An appeal made against North Warwickshire for up to 40 dwellings has been allowed. The scheme had previously been refused due to a lack of certainty over the delivery of affordable housing and contributions towards healthcare facilities, public rights of way and community facilities. The Inspector dismissed these concerns and concluded that these obligations and financial contributions will be made via the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and are thus compliant with the framework and that the appeal should therefore be allowed.
An Inspector dismissed an appeal against Corby Borough Council for 31 dwellings. Whilst the Inspector found that the council’s version of five year housing land supply was not valid, she also found that saying Corby had no five year supply would be a precarious statement. In addition, the Inspector concluded that 31 houses was not a large, but only a modest contribution to supply and therefore could not be a benefit of the proposal. The appeal was dismissed due to the overall impact on character and appearance, lack of amenities and highway safety.
An Inspector allowed an appeal for 10 dwellings in the small village of Tugby, Harborough, after assessing whether the proposed development would enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area. The Inspector noted Historic England’s concern with the proposed layout but agreed with the council officer’s report which stated the proposed development would replicate the existing built pattern and would not constitute over-development. Development would respect the surrounding scale, size and design of properties and was not unduly prominent in the Conservation Area. Whilst the 5 year supply position was discussed, the Inspector did not conclude on the LPA’s position, however, gave limited weight to Policy CS17 of the development plan, in turn giving more weight to paragraphs 79 & 83 of the NPPF which were deemed to be more positive. Overall the Inspector concluded that there would be no adverse impacts of the proposed development that would significantly or demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the development and the appeal was allowed.
The Secretary of State (SoS) agreed with the Inspector’s recommendation to dismiss the appeal for up to 150 dwellings, public open space and a maximum of 6,000 sq m of B1/B8 employment floor space. Despite the SoS considering the employment element of the application to be in accordance with AVLP policy, the provision of affordable housing to carry significant weight and the economic benefits to carry moderate weight. Whilst harm to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site would be ‘less than substantial’, the benefits would not outweigh the harm to the heritage asset and would not be favourable to the proposal. Whilst the SoS acknowledged that the council cannot demonstrate a 5 year housing supply, the Amber Valley Borough Local Plan (AVBLP) has not allocated this land for development in the submission draft of the AVBLP, consistent with the heritage protection policies in the framework. However, as the examination of the AVBLP has been delayed to enable the council to conduct a Green Belt review and revised housing trajectory for the Plan Period, the SoS gave limited weight to the policies within the AVBLP.