Pickles blocks Lancashire homes on design grounds

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has refused plans for a development comprising more than 200 homes in Lancashire, ruling that the scheme is 'relatively unsustainable because of failings with its design approach'.

Pickles: refused permission for Pendle application (picture: m24instudio, Flickr)
Pickles: refused permission for Pendle application (picture: m24instudio, Flickr)

Pendle District Council refused housebuilder Persimmon Homes’ application for a development comprising 203 homes on a 9.9-hectare site to the south of the market town of Colne in January.

The council’s reason for refusal was that the "design and layout of the proposed estate is poor and unacceptable".

Persimmon Homes’ appeal against the decision was recovered for the secretary of state’s determination in May and a public local inquiry was held in July.

Planning inspector Mike Robins recommended that the appeal be dismissed. In a decision letter issued this week, Pickles agreed with his inspector’s recommendation, dismissed the appeal and refused planning permission.

In the decision letter, Pickles agreed with the inspector that "there is little evidence of a design led approach to the appeal scheme and little attempt to connect the housing into its countryside setting".

The scheme "fails in a number of key respects to provide for a high quality, sustainable community that would contribute to enhancing the area for existing or future residents," the letter said.

The note said that Pickles had concluded that the proposal falls "significantly short" of the expectation of high quality design in both the council’s 2006 local plan and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The scheme is "relatively unsustainable because of failings with the design approach", the letter said.

The decision letter said that the communities secretary had given "significant weight" to the fact that the council had confirmed that it cannot identify sufficient land to meet a five-year housing land supply. The main parties had agreed that there is only a 2.1-year supply of available housing land in Pendle, the letter said.

However, Pickles’ decision letter concluded that the lack of a five-year housing land supply "needs to be weighed against the adverse impacts of the scheme which, when assessed against the policies in the NPPF as a whole, significantly and demonstrably outweigh the identified benefits".

Click here to download the decision from Compass Online (subscription service): DCS number 200-001-318.

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