DC Casebook: Housing: New build - Estate ruled out despite supply shortage

An inspector has rejected housing proposals for a greenfield site in Northamptonshire despite finding that the area lacks an adequate supply of housing land.

An interim policy document focused on the means by which a shortage of housing land in the area could be remedied. The appeal site lay adjacent to a settlement considered reasonably capable of supporting new homes and forming part of a wider sub-area with its own housing targets, involving land in an adjoining authority's areas.

Although the council initially agreed that it could not demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land, it subsequently maintained that the abolition of the regional spatial strategy (RSS) meant that it could count housing sites previously excluded because of site-specific policies in the RSS. A five-year supply could easily be demonstrated if these sites were included, it argued.

The inspector noted government advice stating that a five-year supply should be maintained in the context of each local authority assessing its specific needs following RSS abolition. The council's claim that it was appropriate to include all housing land in the district in calculating supply was inconsistent with its stated objective of discussing land requirements for the strategic implementation area, he found.

On this basis, he judged it inappropriate to look at district-wide supply in assessing the amount of land which might be required in the sub-area because it remained an important part of national policy to ensure that provision meets local needs and this might vary significantly in each council area. In this light, he agreed with the appellants that supply ran to around four years.

Despite this favourable conclusion, the inspector decided that the scheme would involve an anomalous protrusion beyond the existing built form into open countryside. The rising nature of the land would emphasise the scheme's size and scale and preclude its successful integration with the village envelope, he held. The council's interim policy only supported village extensions if their visual impact was acceptable and the development would not establish firm and defensible boundaries, he concluded.

DCS Number 100-069-356

Inspector Terry Phillimore; Inquiry.

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