DC Casebook: Housing: New Build - Playing field loss precedent fears voiced

Plans for 11 houses on former playing fields at a Dorset preparatory school have been ruled out by an inspector who decided that their loss without compensatory provision is unacceptable.

The 0.3ha site formed part of the school's playing fields until 1999. When the school was sold, the land was retained and fenced off as rough grassland. The school stated that with increasing pupil numbers, the land could be returned to beneficial use. Sport England also opposed its redevelopment, noting that its lawful use was as a playing field despite severance and neglect.

The inspector agreed that the site's loss without alternative playing provision could not be supported and in its absence the scheme was objectionable in principle. He was also concerned that granting permission would set an undesirable precedent for similar parcels of land to be severed from playing fields. Despite an officer's recommendation to approve the application, he found that the council had given adequate reasons why the proposal conflicted with planning policies.

DCS Number 100-069-050

Inspector Christopher Gethin; Written representations.

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