• Issue 49

  • Jul 2019

The Source

INTERESTING APPEAL DECISIONS

Crudwell, Wiltshire Council (36 dwellings) – Dismissed

An inspector has dismissed an appeal for 36 dwellings made by an individual against the refusal of Wiltshire Council.

Character and Appearance

The main issue in this appeal was that the proposal would impact on the character & appearance of the landscape around Crudwell. The landscape buffer to the north would be inadequate, particularly because of block paving and parking which would not soften the new edge of the settlement. The site therefore represents an illogical intrusion into the countryside.

This, combined with the inability of the appellant to challenge the 5YHLS and the limited sustainability of the site because of a lack of suitable day-to-day facilities, means that the benefits of affordable housing provision and increase in spending locally were ultimately outweighed.

Tenbury Wells, Malvern Hills Council (72 dwellings) – Allowed

An appeal against Malvern Hills Council to refuse a full application for 72 dwellings has been allowed by the inspector.

Mix of Housing

The main issue headed to the appeal was whether the proposal would provide an appropriate mix of market housing. The council argued the mix of housing should accord with the proportions set out in the Market Housing Mix Position Statement (2017). The appeal scheme, when applying the SPD Mix had a deficiency of 11 no 2 bed units and a surplus of 9 no 3 bed and 2 no. 4 bed units. The key issue to be decided was the amount of weight to be attributed to such variance when applying the planning balance.

The council’s housing mix have not explicitly been examined, neither is there any evidence to indicate that they have been subject to viability testing. The inspector drew similarities with the William Davis vs Charnwood (2016) case and suggested the same outcome, and therefore diminished the weight afforded to the SPD.

The council had no other objections to the scheme, given that the inspector concluded the conflict with the SPD does not result in a conflict with the plan overall, the appeal was allowed and planning permission granted.

Earley, Wokingham Borough Council (76 dwellings) – Allowed

An appeal against Wokingham Borough Council to refuse an application for 76 dwellings has been allowed by the inspector.

Character and Appearance

Of particular importance was a previous appeal scheme in the same area for 126 dwellings which was dismissed solely on poor outlook provided for prospective residents and not harm to character and appearance of the area. Residential development of the site was therefore deemed acceptable in principle and notwithstanding a supply in excess of 5 years, the provision of housing in an accessible location would support the governments objectives of significantly boosting the supply of housing.

With mitigation the inspector concluded residents would have access to good quality and quantity of communal outdoor spaces, balconies or terraces, and the use of glazing to mitigate against noise from the M4 would ensure the proposal accords with policies CP1 and CP3 of the Design Guide SPD.

Other Matters

There was no demonstrable harm from the proposed mix which focused on 1 bed apartments, with the inspector considering the schemes location suitable for younger people and downsizers rather than families. With regards to traffic, the scheme would not cause unwarranted harm to traffic or services.

Westleigh, Mid Devon Council (15 dwellings) – Dismissed

An appeal made by individuals against the decision of Mid Devon Council to refuse 15 dwellings (including 7 affordable dwellings) in Westleigh has been dismissed.

Provision of Infrastructure

The inspector highlights the need for planning obligations between the council and the appellant. There was no dispute by the appellants and showed how some on-site public open space could be provided. However, the inspector concluded that the proposal would fail to secure the appropriate contributions.

5YHLS

At planning application stage the council were unable to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, however, when it came to appeal the council submitted evidence to show they had a supply of 7.43 years.

Braintree, Braintree District Council (1,600 dwellings) – Dismissed

An appeal made by Acorn Braintree Ltd against the decision of Braintree Council to refuse 1,600 dwellings in Braintree town has been dismissed by the Secretary of State.

Character and Appearance

The SoS attached significant weight to the harms caused by the proposal site on the character and appearance of the area, with particular attention to the loss of views and open outlook from Flinch way.

Heritage

In total and weighed against the harm to the significance of Naylinghurst, with particular reference to the heritage factors in this area, the SoS found that the public benefits produced by this proposal did not outweigh the potential harm caused. Coupled with the significant issue of the proposal appreciably diminishing the sense of separation between the settlements of Braintree and Rayne, it was concluded that the adverse impacts of granting permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh any benefits arising from the proposal, therefore the appeal was dismissed. 

Felsted, Uttlesford District Council (30 dwellings) – Allowed

An appeal made by an individual against the decision of Uttlesford Council to refuse the development of 30 dwellings in Felsted has been allowed.

Character and Appearance

The appeal site would introduce built form on undeveloped land and would therefore diminish the rural character and appearance of the area. Despite the loss of countryside, this harm will only be of limited weight due to the self-contained nature of the site and the retention of abounding hedgerow.
 
Effect on Ramsar Site

The appeal scheme lies within a Zone of Influence (ZoI) for the Blackwater Estuary Special Protection Area (BESPA) and Ramsar site. Since the appeal site lies near the outskirts of the ZoI (some 20km from the BESPA) the council have accepted that a signed unilateral undertaking provides funding towards additional visitor management measures relating to Blackwater Estuary SPA/Ramsar and would thus make the development acceptable in planning terms.

Five Year Housing Land Supply

The site is identified in the emerging Uttlesford Local Plan as an allocation for housing. The provision of 30 residential units therefore directly responds to the council’s aims of delivering housing in the settlement, as well as addressing the identified lack of a five-year housing land supply in the borough.