Housing allowed on allocated employment land

A claim by a Staffordshire council that the development of 77 dwellings on an allocated employment site would unacceptably undermine the supply of such land has been rejected by an inspector who relied on a recent economic assessment prepared on behalf of the local authority.

An employment land review had concluded that there was approximately 230ha of employment land which, when compared with predicted demand, resulted in an over-supply of 150ha. Since the appeal site amounted to less than three hectares it seemed unlikely that its loss would have a material impact on the quality, quantity and distribution of land, the inspector found. The site had been marketed and although this was during a period of recession no suitable offers had been received, thereby allowing him to conclude that the site was not attractive to industrial development.

With regard to a second issue appertaining to the need for a financial contribution towards secondary education, the county council asserted that there would be a shortfall of 187 places. However, the appellants highlighted four other housing schemes which generated a need for 595 additional pupils and each had made a contribution towards further places. One of these had funded 81 spaces at a local school and this would also be able to accommodate the need arising out of the planned development. In the inspector's opinion the appellants' claims had some merit and he could not be convinced that the existing schools, when assessed in the context of their future capacity resulting in the contributions already committed, would be unable to accommodate pupils living on the appeal site. Thus there was no need for a further financial contribution to be made.

Inspector: John Wilde; Hearing

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