A local plan identified the land as a reserve site for about 2,000 homes, to be released only if there was a "compelling justification" for more housing in the district. The council's emerging core strategy proposed to allocate the site for 2,000 homes. But the secretary of state, having regard to paragraph 216 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which advises on the weight that decision-makers should give to emerging plans, attached limited weight to this.
A previous refusal of permission in September 2011 (
The main issue in redetermining the appeal was whether there was a compelling justification for releasing the site and whether the scheme would be premature ahead of the emerging core strategy. The secretary of state found that the district lacked a five-year supply of deliverable sites for housing unless the appeal site was included. He concluded that the scheme was needed to provide an assured supply of housing and would boost the amount of affordable housing in the district. These factors amounted to a compelling justification for the site's release, he concluded.
He accepted that the scheme would cause some adverse visual impacts, inconvenience for residents during construction and increased traffic and congestion on local roads. However, he held that the factors in favour of the development clearly outweighed any shortcomings. He found no material conflict with the NPPF and ruled that its presumption in favour of sustainable development lent further support to the scheme.
Inspector: Christina Downes