Housing supply boosted on horticultural land

Permission was secured for the erection of up to 107 houses on a former horticultural site in west Sussex, an inspector ruling that the need to significantly boost housing land supply outweighed the impact on the character and appearance of the area.

The site contained several large glasshouses and ancillary structures and the site lay on the edge of a village. The council claimed that the area was semi-rural, divorced from the village, the development breaching a defined boundary of trees and vegetation which lay to the west. This would undermine the character of the area, it alleged, by involving a significant incursion into the countryside which would undermine the setting of the settlement.

An inspector decided that the site was relatively self-contained within a flat landscape which meant that it was not readily perceived in long distance views. New glasshouses lay to the east and the northern boundary was defined by mature trees. The tree belt to the west would provide further screening and permission had been granted for more housing development to the south which would also extend the village boundary.

The council’s strategic housing market assessment had also concluded that the site had medium to high capacity for development and consequently it would not involve a significant or harmful encroachment into the countryside. Since the council could not demonstrate a five year supply of housing land government policy was clear in needing to boost supply and the presumption in favour of the scheme outweighed any adverse effects.

Inspector Isobel McCretton; Hearing

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