Interesting Appeal Decisions
The Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector that an appeal for 2,068 dwellings in Ockham, against Guildford’s decision, should be dismissed. With the site lying entirely within the green belt, the harm would be “very considerable” and would conflict with two of the five purposes of the Green Belt. The main parties agreed that the council could only demonstrate a 2.36-year supply. In addition, the scheme would fail to provide the required cycling improvements. Furthermore, the Inspector considered that despite extensive landscaping the scheme would inevitably cause substantial harm to the character and appearance of the area. Overall, despite benefits including provision for an on-site police presence, it was agreed that the scheme should be dismissed.
An Inspector allowed an appeal for 39 dwellings in Guildford’s Green Belt at Treetops Boarding Kennels, Peamarsh with the main issues being impact of inappropriate development in the Green Belt, impact on heritage assets and upon highways. The Inspector agreed that development would represent inappropriate development in the green belt however, balance needs to be given to other considerations and whether they amount to special circumstances. The Inspector stated that despite the proposal being in proximity to a listed building, it is in such a condition that it has become inhabitable and subject to unauthorised additions, The Inspector therefore concluded the proposal may in fact encourage redevelopment of the building and in turn enhance St Catherine’s Conservation Area. The Inspector found no harm to the character and appearance of the of the Wey & Goldaming conservation area setting. The Inspector agreed with the transport statement that no adverse effects on the highway networks would arise as a result of the proposal. The council can only claim a deliverable supply of 2.36 years and therefore the addition of 39 units should be afforded substantial weight. The Inspector also stated the proposal would provide much needed affordable units. Overall, despite the green belt impact, the Inspector concluded that the proposal provides more benefits than harms and therefore the appeal was allowed.
The Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector that an appeal for 200 dwellings in Swindon made by Ainscough Strategic Land against the decision of the council should be dismissed. Firstly, with the proposed scheme lying within close proximity but not directly on a scheduled monument it was considered to have an undue urbanising effect on its setting and due to its national importance “great weight” should be attached to this harm. Moreover, in relation to open space provision on site it was considered that the location and distribution of play areas was not well planned and may give rise to problems of delivery to serve early phases of development. Alongside adverse potential impacts on traffic in nearby villages, despite attaching “significant weight” to both the expected economic benefits and affordable housing, the SoS agreed to dismiss the appeal.
An appeal for 70 dwellings in Wharfedale, Leeds, could prejudice development of the wider area, but provide sustainable economic and social benefits on highway safety, air quality and housing land supply and so, was allowed. Due to CIL and school provisions the proposed development would not prejudice the wider development area and the service, infrastructure and development would satisfactorily comply with the Core Strategy’s social and economic objectives. Nothing would suggest the highway would become unsafe and, although air quality is already an issue the proposal mitigates to an acceptable level. The Inspector concluded the proposal would provide much needed housing where a supply of only 3 – 4.4 years exists and the benefits outweigh the harms, for the appeal to be allowed.
An appeal for 10 self-build dwellings in the small village of East Tuddenham was dismissed, due in part to the overly rural location of the settlement, not constituting sustainable development and remote from any services or facilities. The development would not meet with any of the criteria of policy CP14 (rural exception site) of the adopted Plan, contrary to the spatial strategy. The proposal would result in a suburban impact in direct contrast with the area’s rural character, which the Inspector considered significant. The tilted balance was engaged as Breckland’s land supply was around 2.4 to 2.8 years. However due to the advanced stage of the emerging local plan the Inspector only gave moderate weight to the benefit of new housing which failed to outweigh the significant adverse impacts of the scheme and the appeal was dismissed.
An appeal for 60 (50%) affordable homes in Badsey, Wychavon was dismissed. Ultimately the Inspector was reluctant to ‘undermine’ the plan policies on settlement boundaries and open countryside in light of improving completions data and the presence of a 5 year housing land supply. The provision of 50% affordable housing was noted and given significant weight however, this was not enough to tip the balance from adopted local and national policy despite the development being in a sustainable location.
An Inspector has allowed an appeal for 42 dwellings in Crewkerne, South Somerset. The main issue raised was whether the proposed development would facilitate the safe and efficient operation of the surrounding highway network. Although a number of concerns were raised by the council, the Inspector was satisfied that the proposed development would have no conflict with Policy TA5 of the South Somerset Local Plan 2015 or paragraph 32 of the NPPF which seek to ensure safe and suitable access arrangements. A Road Safety Audit was carried out by Go-Surveys on behalf of the appellant, which suggested that access arrangements would be safe, despite concerns relating to junction visibility, increased traffic flow and insufficient road widths. Other issues such as the effect of the proposed development on local wildlife, the setting of local heritage and the development’s location in Flood Zone 2 were raised, however the Inspector was satisfied that these concerns could be mitigated. Furthermore, a unilateral undertaking proposes that the development can provide 35% affordable housing. Therefore, on the balance of the evidence, the appeal was allowed.