• Issue 45

  • Mar 2019

The Source

INTERESTING APPEAL DECISIONS

Sutton cum Lound, Bassetlaw (42 dwellings) – Dismissed

The main issues were:

Location of Development

The appeal site is located within the open countryside in both the Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan which does allocate 3 alternative sites that are adjacent to the settlement. Moreover, the scale was also considered inappropriate in regard to the settlements location within the settlement hierarchy- although no exact number for that settlement has been identified.

5YHLS

The council now says that it has a 7.9-year supply, including a 5% buffer. The appellant did not dispute this claim.

Character and Appearance

It was also considered that the shape of the site behind linear development would not reflect the linear character of the area. Although privacy concerns were raised by residents this was considered to be a matter for the reserved matters stage.

Hinckley, Hinckley & Bosworth (60 dwellings) – Allowed

The main issues were:

Natural Surveillance

It was considered by the council that the scheme failed to maximise natural surveillance opportunities over open space. Ultimately the Inspector was satisfied that opportunities have been incorporated where possible as there would be no public areas within the development that would not be directly or indirectly overlooked or could be seen from windows of the dwellings.

Parking Layout

The council had stated that the proposed parking layout would not lend itself to an attractive frontage to the open space. Ultimately however the parking arrangement had already been revised following consultation and discussions with the council and it was therefore decided the layout would be appropriate and not overly dominated by parking.

Housing Density

The council had suggested the development would be overdevelopment. But had not set out clear reasons why. As far as the Inspector was concerned it was lower than the 40 dwellings per hectare prescribed by the Local plan and ‘adequate’ separation distances between dwellings within the development had been included.

Halstead, Braintree (70 dwellings) – Dismissed

The main issues were:

Character and Appearance

Despite proposed buffering and being at outline stage the Inspector considered that there would be harm to the setting of nearby grade II listed cottages and barn. When viewed from certain points the scheme would appear to absorb and wrap round these assets, thus harming their historical ties with agriculture.

5YHLS

It is acknowledged that the council cannot demonstrate a five year housing land supply although the extent of the shortfall is not specified because regardless of this it would not override the harm to heritage identified.

Topsham, Exeter (155 dwellings) – Allowed

The main issues were:

The appeal scheme’s effect on the character and local distinctiveness of the strategic gap between Topsham and Exeter

While the application would adversely affect Topsham’s attractive setting, there would not be any material harm between the two settlements arising from the scheme.

Its accessibility to modes of travel other than the private car

The Inspector concluded that the site was within adequate walking distance to existing facilities and realised that public transport schemes were set to be improved as part of the S106 with the application, therefore meaning the site was not reliant on the private car.

Its effect on highway safety

Concerns were raised about the access arrangements at the northern and southern ends of the site, in respect of turning onto Clyst Road. The Inspector, however, saw no substantive technical evidence to the contrary.

Maulden, Central Bedfordshire (49 dwellings) – Allowed

The main issues were:

 Character and Appearance

The Inspector has stated that the site lies within unremarkable farmland which is framed by the built form of the village. This is contrary to the council’s opinion as the landscape was previously considered as important.

The Inspector also found that the scheme would not have an unacceptable effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area. This is not just from one aspect of the site, but the whole site from each angle.

Biodiversity

The Inspector concluded that the site would have no damage on nearby SSSI’s. Which the council previously believed the contrary.

The Inspector also states that they attach significant weight to the scheme offering ecological benefits such as bat boxes and bird boxes.

Heritage Assets

The Inspector does acknowledge that the site is situated near ridge and furrow features which carry regional significance. However, they do not award much weight to this therefore the appeal is not refused on these grounds.

Agricultural Land

The Inspector agrees that the site lies within agricultural land that is classed as best and most versatile. However the Inspector did not attach significant weight to this potential issue.

Stubbington, Fareham (160 dwellings) – Dismissed

The main issues were:

Character and Appearance

The appeal site is an integral part of the Meon Valley landscape character area and in particular the lower section south of Titchfield. The proposed development would be unacceptably harmful to the character of the Lower Meon Valley and would fail to protect this valued landscape.

Housing Land Supply

Due to the lack of housing land supply, development outside the urban area is permitted and therefore the strategic gap wouldn’t be an impediment. However the proposal would fail to minimise any adverse impact on the countryside.

Environmental

The conflict with the development plan and environmental harm that would ensue to the countryside within the valued landscape of the Lower Meon Valley is of compelling importance and outweighs the many advantages of the scheme.

Royal Wootton Bassett (320 dwellings) – Dismissed

In summary this is a joint appeal, appeal A is for a comprehensive mixed development of up to 320 dwellings, a community hub, public open space, landscape work, extension to approved sports ‘hub’ and access. Appeal B is a hybrid application for a 2,469 square metres supermarket with access and landscaping and a Class C2 care home. Therefore, only Appeal A is really considered here. The main issues are:

Landscape and Visual Impact

On both the open countryside and on the self-containment of Royal Wootton Bassett and harm to the character and appearance of the locality together is deemed to cause more harm than benefits.

 Settlement Boundary

The appeal site is located outside the settlement boundary and therefore the neighbourhood plan cannot be considered to have weighting in the development plan however, the appellant argues that Royal Wootton Bassett is a sustainable settlement so this plan is of material consideration.

Housing Supply

It is undisputed that the authority can demonstrate a supply and that all of the existing commitments allocated to Royal Wootton Bassett have been met and exceeded.

Bramshill, Hart DC (361 dwellings) – Dismissed

The main issues were:

Appropriate location for development given planning policies

Despite the provision of a transport plan, the lack of facilities within walking distance of the site, the distance to the bus stops and the unattractive nature of the road network to walk and cycle, makes the location of the site not one that is or can be made sustainable.

Character & Appearance

Whilst there is no significant effect on the wider area outside the site confines, the extension of the development into open parkland and an increase in density would be detrimental to the relationship between Bramshill House and the grounds. There is therefore significant impact on character and appearance and does not conform with national planning policy to protect and enhance the natural environment.

Historic Features

The majority of this appeal considers the impact on the Grade I Bramshill House and Registered Park & Garden. It was found that the only appeal to restore the Park & garden is appeal 4 (235 units) but this would not what Historic England call ‘enabling development’ as the proposal leads to more harm to heritage assets than the retention of existing buildings. The key appeals here contravene local and national policy.

Ecological Impacts

Mainly in regard to appeals 2 and 3 (not residential), the appeal considers the impact of buffer zones to SSSI and SPAs extensively, including SANG and cat predation. They were found not to have an impact because of mitigation measures. It was assumed that mitigation measures would be needed for all other appeals related to residential developments.

Highway Safety

No appeals would result in unacceptable risk to highway safety, subject to highway improvements and a travel plan provided through obligations in the S106 agreement or under conditions.

Edenthorpe, Doncaster (600 dwellings) – Allowed by SoS

The Secretary of State has agreed with an Inspector that an appeal for 600 dwellings in Doncaster, made by Hallam Land, should be allowed. During the appeal process, the Inspector allowed the appellants request that alternative plans to reduce the number of dwellings from 650 to approximately 600 dwellings should be considered.

The principal issue was in regard to the conflict with the development plan. While the Countryside Protection Area (CPA) and Green Wedge policies aim to protect the countryside, they do not ensure that sufficient land is available of the right sort in the right place and at the right time to support growth. Nor has there been an evaluation of the quality or value of sites in the CPA designation. Thus, these UDP policies are therefore not aligned with national policy and should be considered out of date.

It was also agreed in relation to the agricultural value of the land that as only 12% was grade 3a (3.7 hectares), to farm an area so small would not be viable economically.  Finally, in regard to Housing Land Supply whilst the appellant does dispute this, it was agreed by the SoS that the standardised methodology should be applied in line with the Framework. This indicated a requirement of approximately 600 dwellings per year, which subsequently produced a supply in excess of 10 years.

Despite this high level of supply and other identified harm the SoS considered that this was ultimately outweighed by the benefits including the provision of housing, along with transport and accessibility improvements and improved access to open and green space.