The appellants proposed almost 1,100 homes, of which 30 per cent would be affordable, a neighbourhood centre and a 2ha land reservation for a primary school. They argued that the site lay in a broad area identified in the draft core strategy as the most sustainable location for housing on the north-east side of the town. There was no need to provide a detailed supplementary planning document for the whole of this quarter, they claimed.
The inspector noted that an examination of the submitted core strategy was due later in the year. He agreed that the appeal site fell in the preferred area for new housing in the draft. The council accepted that its draft strategy indicated that 1,000 homes would have to be built on the appeal site, given the lack of brownfield land in the area.
However, the inspector acknowledged that overall housing figures for the borough might need to be reviewed following revocation of the regional spatial strategy and the submitted policies might be subject to change. Allowing such a significant scale of development at this stage might prejudice the council's ability to rethink its strategy following the examination, he advised.
In addition, he expressed concerns about the quality of the design and access statement. The framework plan appeared to have been prepared in isolation and failed to take into account the potential for the town's northern fringe to accommodate other development in future, he found. He was also concerned that the neighbourhood centre was small and routes linking nearby parcels of land were tentative and unclear. The secretary of state agreed that there were doubts over the appellants' ability to deliver a high-quality scheme.
DCS Number 100-069-341
Inspector Trevor Cookson; Inquiry.