Inspector blocks developer's bid to build Slad Valley homes

A developer has failed in its bid to overturn a Gloucestershire council's decision to refuse permission for more than 100 homes in a valley made famous by writer and poet Laurie Lee, but has succeeded in overturning a separate refusal of a scheme containing 150 homes elsewhere in the district.

Slad Valley (picture by Smoobs, Flickr)
Slad Valley (picture by Smoobs, Flickr)

Gladman Developments' appealed against Stroud District Council's decision to refuse two outline applications - one to build 112 homes and another to build 140 homes, later amended to 112 dwellings - on a site occupying around 15 hectares of fields and woodland on the southern side of the Slad Valley.

Both appeals were dealt with together as a single proposal.

Inspector J C Chase found that, in the absence of a five-year stock of deliverable sites, the provision of 112 new homes would be a "significant benefit".

But dismissing Gladman's appeal, the inspector concluded that the "damage to the quality of the landscape would not comply with the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework which seek to recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside".

The inspector said that the adverse impacts of the proposal were of sufficient importance to "significantly and demonstrably" outweigh the benefits of the scheme. "The failure to protect and enhance the natural environment would prevent it from amounting to the type of development for which there is a presumption in favour," the decision note said.

But Gladman succeeded in overturning Stroud District Council's decision to refuse a separate application for 150 homes on land off Bath Road, Leonard Stanley.

Inspector David Nicholson concluded that the scheme would, on balance, amount to sustainable development and that at the time of the inquiry the council could not demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.

"I find that the harm that would be caused to the character and appearance of the area, and any other harm, would not cross this threshold," the inspector's note said.

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