Gladman appeal fails over neighbourhood plan conflict

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has refused permission for more than 200 homes in Buckinghamshire, placing 'very substantial negative weight' on the conflict between the proposals and an adopted neighbourhood plan that is the subject of a judicial review, even though its policies for the supply of housing are out of date.

Winslow: Pickles has blocked plan for more than 200 homes (picture: Lutmans, Flickr)
Winslow: Pickles has blocked plan for more than 200 homes (picture: Lutmans, Flickr)

Developer Gladman Developments appealed against Aylesbury Vale District Council's decision to grant outline permission for up to 211 residential units at Winslow in September 2013. The appeal was recovered to be decided by the secretary of state in March 2014.

Following a public local inquiry, inspector Clive Sproule recommended that the appeal be allowed and planning permission granted. But in a decision note issued today, Pickles disagreed with the inspector's recommendation, dismissed the appeal and refused planning permission.

In his decision note, Pickles placed "very substantial negative weight" on the conflict between the appeal proposal and the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan, which was "made", or adopted, in September 2014, after the public local inquiry was held.

The appellant had requested that Pickles delay the decision on the appeal until the outcome of a judicial review into the neighbourhood plan is known, but the secretary of state said in his decision note that "there is no need to delay this decision and has proceeded on the basis that full weight is attributed to the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan, as part of the statutory development plan".

In his decision note, Pickles said that development plan policies for the supply of housing are out of date, including relevant policies in the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan, "even though that plan was made very recently". The plan was progressed to examination shortly after Aylesbury Vale Council was forced to withdraw its own emerging plan from examination.

Pickles agreed with the inspector that the proposal would "provide sustainable homes that would have economic, social and environmental benefits, and that in the absence of a five-year housing land supply the resulting social benefits attract significant weight in favour of the development".

But Pickles concluded that "there are no material circumstances that indicate the proposal should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan".

The note said: "Neighbourhood plans, once made part of the development plan, should be upheld as an effective means to shape and direct development in the neighbourhood planning area in question … Where a planning application conflicts with a neighbourhood plan that has been brought into force, planning permission should not normally be granted."

Gladman Developments was in July refused permission by the High Court for an injunction to prevent a vote on the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan. A judicial review will be heard at the High Court in December.

Earlier this week, Pickles approved plans for up to 135 homes at Burbage, Leicestershire.

In the decision note, Pickles noted that the Burbage Neighbourhood Area has been designated as a Neighbourhood Plan area.

"However, as there has been no evidence of progression beyond designation of the area in early 2014, the secretary of state has not given it any weight in this decision," the note said.

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