DC Casebook: Housing: new build - Policy update scuppers garden land use

A third attempt by three appellants seeking to develop garden land in Essex has failed with an inspector ruling that this summer's changes to PPS3 confirm that the scheme should be rejected.

In two previous appeals in 2008, the inspectors supported the reuse of previously developed land in the urban area in principle but rejected the schemes on other grounds. In an attempt to tackle these concerns, the appellants made changes and the application was recommended for approval by officers. However, the council refused it on highway grounds and an appeal was lodged in March.

Noting this background, the inspector decided that the government's decision to remove gardens from the definition of previously developed land in June had to be taken into account. In his opinion, the proposed access arrangements were satisfactory and he would not have refused permission on this ground.

However, this conclusion did not apply to the development of the rear garden land on which the five terraced houses would be built. While his colleagues had placed weight on the site's previously developed status, he held that the presumption of making more efficient use of such land no longer applied and the land was worthy of retention.

The site offered an appealing amenity to owners of the existing houses and also maintained a pleasing outlook for the occupants of others, he decided. In his view, it provided an oasis of greenery and comparative quiet in a solidly urban area and had remained largely unspoilt since the area was developed 90 years ago. Its permanent loss to housing could not be sanctioned, he concluded.

DCS Number 100-069-586

Inspector Ian Currie; Written representations.

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