Disaggregated approach to land supply agreed in national park

In refusing to permit a development of 26 dwellings within the South Downs national park in Hampshire an inspector accepted the local authority's approach to calculating land supply.

The appellant claimed that in the context of an adjoining town the development did not constitute major development within the national park and in addition a five year supply of housing land was not capable of being demonstrated within the east Hampshire district. In response the local authority argued that the land supply position should be assessed on the basis of sites within the national park and disaggregated from the rest of the district.

In deciding that the scheme did amount to major development within the national park based on its landscape and visual effects and consequently the development should only be permitted if exceptional circumstances existed and it was in the public interest, the inspector agreed that within the district as a whole only 4.7 years of housing land was identified. A joint core strategy policy sought to guide new housing to appropriate locations and recognised that the national park due to its special character, was not suitable for unlimited amount of new development. The national park had only been in existence for three years and consequently it was not appropriate to apply a 20% buffer because a longer period was required before persistent under-delivery could be established. Based on the ‘Liverpool’ approach to addressing any backlog the particular circumstances of the case justified taking a longer term view he held but even if the ‘Sedgefield’ plus 5% approach was preferred the council could still demonstrate a five year supply.

In addition the scheme would have a dramatic impact on the natural beauty of the national park when viewed from various public footpaths and the character of the area. It would also adversely affect the setting of a conservation area. There were no exceptional circumstances in its favour and it was not in the public interest to allow it to proceed the inspector held.

Inspector: Ashan Ghafoor; Inquiry

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