Interesting Appeal Decisions
An Inspector has allowed a scheme for 48 dwellings in Malvern Hills, despite finding that the proposed development would be contrary to Policy SWDP 2 of the development plan by introducing residential development into the open countryside. In this case the parking provision, layout and design were neutral factors. Balanced against this was the contribution of 48 new homes to the housing supply, with 19 of those affordable, which the Inspector felt significantly swung the balance in favour of the proposal. Taking all other material considerations into account, the Inspector concluded that the adverse impact of granting planning permission would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposed development when assessed against the policies in the South Worcestershire Development Plan as a whole. The appeal was therefore allowed.
An appeal made by Chessland Estates for a development of 80 dwellings against the decision of Poole Council has been allowed after grappling with whether the proposal would preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Poole Park Conservation Area and the significance of impact on The Sloop, a locally listed building. The Inspector concluded that the proposal would at least preserve the character and appearance of the Poole Park Conservation Area and would not result in harm to the character and appearance of the wider area or to the significance of The Sloop. It would not conflict with Poole Core Strategy Policies PCS5 and PCS23 which, respectively deal with the broad locations for residential development including design criteria and local distinctiveness. Nor would it conflict with Policy DM2 of the Development Management Policies, which deal with heritage assets. For this reason the appeal was allowed.
An appeal for 50 new dwellings in Gotherington, Tewkesbury was dismissed as it would be counter to policies of the recently adopted Joint Core Strategy and made neighbourhood plan. The unallocated site within the settlement gap was also deemed to represent over-development that would put a strain on local facilities and harm social cohesion due to the extent of approved and potential development around the settlement. These issues, added to the fact that the authority are currently able to demonstrate a five year housing land supply led the Inspector to conclude that the appeal did not constitute sustainable development and should therefore be dismissed.
An appeal for 18 dwellings in Malvern Hills, which lies outside the settlement boundary within a strategic gap between Malvern and Leigh Sinton, was deemed to have an unacceptable and irreversible adverse impact on character and appearance by virtue of its conspicuous suburban form. The proposal would also give rise to a significant degree of overlooking, resulting in unacceptable living conditions for residents. Despite its re-use of previously developed land and provision of market and affordable housing, the Inspector ultimately decided that the proposal did not represent sustainable development and should therefore be dismissed.
An appeal made by Welbeck Strategic Land LLP against the decision of South Gloucestershire District Council to refuse 350 dwellings in Thornton has been allowed, despite the Inspector finding overall that the proposals would be in conflict with the development plan and in particular Core Strategy Policy CS5 which refers to the location of development. The weight that could be given to that policy however was reduced and the conflict limited, as no five-year housing land supply could be demonstrated and the harm to the landscape would be localised. The other harms identified carried only limited weight. In accordance with the tilted balance in paragraph 14 of the Framework, the Inspector concluded that the adverse impacts of granting planning permission would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits. The proposals therefore benefited from the presumption in favour of sustainable development and were allowed.
An appeal made by Whitgift Estates against the decision of Arun District Council for up to 14 dwellings in Westergate was allowed. The appeal was dealt with whilst the new Local Plan had not yet been adopted and therefore limited weight was afforded to its policies, leaving the main issue as impact on character. The Inspector found that, given the enclosed site, the location of the existing structures within it and in the context of the changing pattern of development in this section of Hook Lane, the low density and semi-rural character of the locale would not be unduly diminished. The appeal proposal was in outline form and there would be no reason why the design should not be of a high quality that reflects local character and respects and enhances local distinctiveness. The Inspector also noted that the Council could only demonstrate a supply of just over two years and, with this in mind, the appeal was allowed.