DC Casebook: Housing: new build - Wildlife area impact mitigation required

An inspector has declined to renew permission for a home in Berkshire after ruling that the impact on the Thames Basin Heaths special protection area (SPA) has not been adequately considered.

Planning permission had been granted in 2004. The appellant claimed that development had commenced prior to its expiry last autumn because of the advanced state of negotiations with other landowners to secure access improvements. The council had no objection to permission being granted afresh provided a section 106 obligation was submitted for a payment towards alternative green space to mitigate the impact on the SPA.

The inspector decided that since no material start on site had been made, the original permission had lapsed. The house itself would not have a significant effect on the SPA but the relevant regulations required cumulative impacts to be evaluated, he noted. The scheme would increase the number of people living within 5km of the SPA and they would be likely to use the area for recreation, potentially affecting protected birds.

In the absence of a planning obligation dealing with a contribution towards the green space, he decided that the proposal was unacceptable. However, he agreed that the council's request for contributions towards education, libraries and open space was unreasonable because it had provided only general information on the need and how the money would be spent. This failed to meet the test laid down in regulation 122 of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010, he held.

DCS Number 100-069-595

Inspector Martyn Single; Written representations.

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