INTERESTING APPEAL DECISIONS
An appeal made by Domaines Du Chateau Ltd against the decision of Rother Council to refuse 16 dwellings in Beckley has been dismissed. The main issues related to whether the proposed development would conserve and enhance the landscape and scenic beauty of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Inspector found that the development would fail to do this. Further, they found that the design features of the development would have an adverse impact on the character and appearance of the area. The Inspector also considered that the proposed affordable housing mix did support balanced and sustainable communities. However, the Inspector gave this moderate weight in favour of the proposal and so did not find that this outweighed the adverse harm to the AONB and character and appearance of the area.
An appeal against the decision of West Berkshire Council to refuse 36 dwellings in Hermitage has been dismissed. The main issues in this appeal were (a) scheme’s effects on landscape character and visual impact on AONB, (b) whether adequate POS would be provided, (c) whether the scheme’s density would reflect the adjacent settlement character, (d) the adequacy of the scheme’s proposed pedestrian/cycle links, (e) the scheme’s effects on protected trees, and (f) its effects on biodiversity (inc. protected species). The Inspector found that the appeal scheme would conflict with the development plan, and that the benefits advanced in favour of the scheme – including economic benefits such as employment opportunities and the New Homes Bonus, the provision of more market homes and the considerable benefit of additional affordable housing – are not enough to overcome that conflict. For this reason, the Inspector did not see any reason for departing from the provisions made in paragraph 12 of the Framework and therefore dismissed the appeal.
An appeal against the decision of Teignbridge District Council to refuse outline permission for the erection of up to 30 dwellings with associated works in Bovey Tracey has been allowed. The main issues were the effect of the development on highway safety in terms of the junction of the private drive with Newton Road, the adequacy of the private drive to serve the development and whether there would be any associated effects on the setting of Indio House, a Grade II Listed Building. However, the Inspector stated that the proposal will accord with the development plan and that the development is small enough (only 30 dwellings) to ensure that the setting of Indio House would not be impacted and that there would be limited traffic on the private driveway. Additionally, due to the driveway’s location and curve, speeds would be kept naturally low, further protecting the setting. For these reasons the Inspector allowed the appeal subject to conditions.
An appeal made by an individual against the decision of Bolsover District Council to refuse a proposed development of 65 dwellings and the relocation of a nursery has been allowed by the Inspector. The main issues heading into the appeal were; whether the authority could demonstrate a 5YHLS, the effect of development on the character of the area and whether future occupiers would be unduly reliant on private transport.
With regards to the housing land supply position, it was common ground that the housing requirement of 272dpa from the LP was correct, what was challenged by the appellant was the inclusion of 13 sites in the claimed supply. The Inspector removed some sites from the claimed supply citing a lack of evidence of their deliverability, notably 200 dwellings at the proposed garden village, however this still left a housing supply of 1,450 dwellings against 1,391, therefore the LPA could demonstrate a 5YHLS and the tilted balance at paragraph 11 does not apply.
With regards to the character of the proposed development, the Inspector concluded the appeal site should not be considered as open agricultural land as it contains a number of buildings and structures. The Inspector did not specifically conclude whether the site was brownfield or greenfield but did conclude there would be little harm to the character of the area therefore the appeal accorded with the development plan.
With regards to private transport, it was noted the appeal site was within walking distance of numerous key services and consequently future residents would not be unduly reliant on private transport. In addressing the planning balance, the Inspector concluded that whilst the authority could demonstrate a 5 year supply, no significant harm would arise from the development and in fact there were significant benefits to the scheme that could be made through considerable planning conditions. Therefore the appeal was allowed.
An appeal made by Catesby Estates & Bewley Homes against Waverley Borough Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a proposed development of up to 102 dwellings has been allowed by the Inspector. Initially the council refused permission citing nine reasons, although by the time of the appeal the majority of these issues had been resolved and the outstanding issues were; the impact on the character and appearance of the locality and whether the proposed development provides an adequate mix of housing to meet the identified needs of the district.
The site falls within an Area of Great Landscape Value, policy R3 of the LP seeks to retain AGLV as a buffer to the AONB until such a time where there is a review of the Surrey Hills AONB. Whilst recognising the reason behind the policy, the Inspector noted the protection of the AGLV should be commensurate with its status as a local landscape designation. The AGLV was assessed in 2007 and the proposed site was considered a somewhat isolated area of AGLV and did not have any material consideration on the AONB, the Inspector agreed with this and concluded it did not fall within a landscape area of high value and sensitivity. Overall it was summarised that whilst there would be some inevitable harm to the character and appearance of the locality, the nature of the proposal, its visual containment and complimentary landscape improvements and improvements within the SANG ultimately outweighed the identified harm.
With regards to housing mix, the appellant proposed 40% affordable housing, 10% above what was required through policy. This weighed heavily in favour of the proposal. Overall the Inspector concluded the proposal would provide a satisfactory mix of housing with considerable weight given to the number of affordable dwellings.
In assessing the housing supply, the Inspector agreed with the appellant that there was a considerable shortfall of housing measured against the adopted requirement. In advance of the HDT results, the Inspector noted it would likely result in a 20% buffer being applied and the 5 year supply position at best being marginal. Owing to the above the appeal was allowed.
An appeal made by Pillar Three Developments against Durham County Council’s decision to refuse an application for 25 dwellings in Byers Green has been dismissed by the Inspector.
With regards to the character and appearance of the area, the Inspector concluded the village was not urban in character, therefore the proposed development could not be considered located in an urban environment as suggested by the appellant. The scheme was considered to be a significant proposal that would interrupt the open landscape of the locality. As a result, the proposed development did not accord with the saved policies of the local plan, notably H8 & H11. It did also not accord with paragraph 127(c) of the Framework.
Assessing the reliance on private motor transport, the lack of services in the village would inevitably mean most new residents would be reliant on private transport, this would be exacerbated as the bus service is considered infrequent at best.
Assessing the planning balance, whilst it was common ground the LPA could not demonstrate a 5 year supply, the Inspector concluded the harm of the scheme outweighed the benefit of new housing. Therefore, the appeal was dismissed.