The site lay outside the settlement boundary but the council had published an interim policy statement in 2012 which listed 18 criteria for assessing new housing schemes which fell within the countryside. It supported schemes of up to 50 dwellings but the council also accepted that it could be applied flexibly particularly given the inability to demonstrate a five year supply of housing land. Nonetheless, it opposed the scheme because it made inefficient use of the site resulting in only 19dpha. This was disputed by the appellants who stated that a large area of open space should be discounted from the calculation and if this was done the density was 31dpha.
The inspector noted that although the scheme included substantially more open space than would normally be necessary, it would provide a desirable gateway feature at the entrance to the settlement. The appellants’ approach to calculating density more fairly reflected the nature of the scheme which involved both housing and a large area of public open space. Since there was a large shortfall of such space across the district, increasing provision was a positive aspect of the development. Adequate provision was made for drainage and a contribution towards off-site infrastructure and the appeal was allowed.
Inspector Terry Phillimore; Hearing