Pickles approves 250 Staffordshire homes

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has approved plans for up to 250 homes on a site outside Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire after agreeing with a planning inspector that the council could not demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, as required by national planning policy.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles
Communities secretary Eric Pickles
The appeal was made by developer Barwood Strategic Land II LLP and Mr and Mrs G Skipper against East Staffordshire Borough Council’s refusal of an outline application for the scheme.

The council’s grounds for refusal focused on landscape impacts and that the plans would constitute inappropriate development outside development boundaries, contrary to saved local plan policies.

The inspector’s report following a public inquiry into the plans said that the council had admitted that it does not have a five-year housing land supply as required by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and relevant local plan policies were out of date.

The report said: "The council's case is therefore one which completely fails to address the issues that the NPPF requires that it should and is therefore fundamentally flawed on the basis of the above admissions at the inquiry.

"The balancing exercise that will need to be undertaken before reaching a conclusion should be done against the background of a council which has failed to carry out its responsibilities to maintain a five-year housing land supply and to consider this appeal application in accordance with the presumption in favour of the grant of planning permission where the housing land supply policies are out-of-date, where there is no five-year housing land supply and the development boundary policy identified in the reasons for refusal is agreed to be out-of-date".

A decision letter issued on behalf of Pickles this week said he agreed with the inspector that the plans should be approved.

The letter said that as the relevant local plan policies are out of date, Pickles gave "significant weight to the fact that the framework indicates that, in the absence of a five-year housing land supply in an up-to-date, adopted development plan, planning permission should be granted for the proposal".

The letter added that Pickles was also satisfied that the appeal site "is in a sustainable location for housing development, and that, as the adverse impacts of granting planning permission would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the framework taken as a whole, he does not consider that there are any material considerations of sufficient weight to justify refusing planning permission".

Click here to download the decision from Compass Online (subscription service): DCS number 200-001-250

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