Green wedge and tranquil countryside site developed for housing

Outline planning permission was granted for a development of up to 110 homes in Gloucestershire the council failing to persuade an inspector that it would erode an area of much valued local countryside which formed part of a green wedge separating two settlements.

The site was not protected by a local landscape policy the inspector held and a blanket ban on housing development outside existing settlements was not appropriate where a five year supply could not be demonstrated. The council’s landscape witness accepted that the site was less prominent than two draft housing allocations and the land was not deeply rural and tranquil with a number of urbanising features including two main roads. Moreover in a previous draft of a site allocations plan the land had been identified as being suitable for development and the inspector opined that the council’s decision to resile from this position was not fully clear. The housing would sit comfortably within the landscape as defined by its natural boundaries and the landscaping could be reinforced by additional planting which would not unacceptably impinge on the function of the land as part of the green wedge.

In terms of housing land supply a sizeable proportion of the contested sites without planning permission were unlikely to be available in the context of footnote 11 of paragraph 47 of the national planning policy framework. There had been a record of under-delivery of both open market and affordable housing and the council ultimately conceded that a robust five year supply could not be demonstrated. It would not harm the community infrastructure of a nearby village and would deliver economic development in the form of new jobs and increased household expenditure which would be spent locally.

Inspector: Mike Fox; Inquiry

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