Dimensions of sustainability assessed in edge of village expansion

An inspector has considered whether it was appropriate to grant permission for up to 149 dwellings on the edge of a Northamptonshire village after examining whether the development was sustainable when assessed in the context of national planning policy.

There was significant debate between the main parties over the supply of housing land, the council asserting that if the start date was April 2015 it could demonstrate an adequate supply. In contrast, the appellant asserted that any assessment should begin in April 2014 but on either basis an inadequate supply could not be demonstrated.

In examining the competing evidence the inspector determined that a five-year supply of housing was not proven and the presumption in favour of the scheme applied. However, despite the fact that the scheme would contribute to economic development there remained a strong probability that residents would be largely car-dependent for meeting their social and employment needs. The site lay in the countryside and development, particularly within the central part, would have a substantial impact on the character of the area and the setting of the village. It would also compromise the setting of a listed church and these impacts outweighed benefits associated with improving public footpaths and enhancing biodiversity.

Inspector: Mel Middleton; Inquiry

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