Reserved greenfield site release held premature

A proposal for up to 133 executive homes outside the defined boundary of a Lancashire town has been rejected because it would conflict with the spatial strategy for the area.

A local plan policy safeguarded some urban fringe land for future development, as long as it was comprehensively planned. The appellants argued that a local shortage of housing land and the need for executive houses justified releasing the appeal site. They relied on the results of a strategic housing land availability assessment, which identified the site as suitable for housing, to support this position.

The regional strategy favoured brownfield development and then infill within urban areas before sanctioning greenfield development. The council's recently adopted core strategy acknowledged that the supply of housing sites in urban areas was likely to diminish. But it stated that any urban extensions should be considered through a site allocations document, which had yet to be prepared.

Despite the lack of a five-year supply of housing land, the inspector decided that allowing the appeal would be contrary to the core strategy. This did not mean that the site was unsuitable for housing, he said, only that its use should be properly considered within the development plan process.

Inspector: Clive Sproule; Inquiry.

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