The two appeals to relate to neighbouring sites at Kirkham outside Preston. The first appeal was by Gladman Developments against Fylde Borough Council’s failure to decide on its application to build 180 homes at the site. The second appeal was by Bloor Homes North West against Flyde Council’s refusal of its application to build 140 homes.
The council’s grounds for rejection included concerns about connectivity and damage to the character and appearance of the area.
Following a public inquiry, planning inspector Julia Gregory recommended that both schemes be approved and a decision letter issued on behalf of communities secretary Eric Pickles this week said he agreed with the inspector’s conclusion.
The letter said Pickles noted that it was "common ground between the main parties that the council does not have a five year housing land supply and as a result the relevant local plan policies for the supply of housing are not up-to-date. He considers that this engages the presumption in favour of sustainable development".
He concluded: "Given the significant undersupply of housing land identified, the secretary of state considers that the housing provided by the developments in a sustainable location is a substantial benefit that would comply with national planning policy.
"Whilst there would be loss of countryside, he sees no reason to disagree with the inspector’s view that both developments can be satisfactorily landscaped and considers that they would not cause harm to the character and appearance of the area. When assessed against the National Planning Policy Framework as a whole, he concludes the schemes would comprise sustainable development and that their benefits would significantly outweigh any adverse impacts".
Accordingly, Pickles granted outline consent for the first appeal but said he was minded to approve the second because of "deficiencies" in paperwork for the scheme's section 106 agreement. Pickles allowed three weeks "for receipt of a duly signed and dated planning obligation" from the developer in order for formal approval to be granted.
Click here to download the decision from Compass Online (subscription service): DCS number 200-001-227