The called-in application proposed up to 30 hectares of commercial and industrial uses, up to 250 homes, a local centre of up to 1,400 square metres, an energy centre, public open space, new roads, footpaths, cycleways and green infrastructure. The secretary of state agreed with his inspector that the aim of preventing settlements merging would not be compromised by the scheme.
He found a significant shortfall in the five-year housing supply, noting that favourable consideration should be given to housing applications in such circumstances. In his view, the employment element would deliver much-needed job opportunities in an area suffering deprivation.
He also found that the proposal had been designed sensitively to fit its surroundings. While he recognised that the siting of the local centre was less than perfect and voiced some doubt about footpath links, he did not consider that these factors were of such weight as to justify refusing permission.
The secretary of state agreed that the proposal would conflict with development plan policies restricting development in the green wedge and took into account local opposition to the proposal. He decided, however, that these factors needed to be balanced against the clear need for housing and employment land.
Inspector: David Rose; Inquiry