The site comprised former parkland pasture outside the boundary of a sub-regional centre with the characteristics of a suburban village. It was agreed that the area had no identified five-year housing land supply. However, the inspector also noted the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF’s) emphasis on establishing a balance between meeting housing need and protecting the countryside and the identity of towns and villages.
In his view, relevant housing policies could be rendered up to date without any change save for the identification of additional housing land. On that basis, he considered that the policies themselves were not necessarily inherently outmoded, redundant or inapplicable.
The secretary of state considered that the site was well contained within recognisable boundaries, limiting the scheme’s landscape impact and ensuring that it would not unduly detract from the settlement’s character. In the absence of an identified five-year housing land supply, he agreed that the decision fell to be made in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development outlined at paragraph 14 of the NPPF.
He concluded that the limited environmental and residential amenity harm identified by the inspector would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of providing up to 135 dwellings, 40 per cent of which would be affordable, in a sustainable location.
Inspector: David Cullingford; Inquiry