The council could demonstrate less than two years' supply of housing land. Although the site lay on the edge of a village, the inspector accepted that the scheme would not cause unacceptable harm to the area's character. He also found that the village's range of facilities, including a small shop, post office, primary school, pub and village hall, would provide adequate services for day-to-day needs.
He noted that three bus services provided access to higher order settlements. While most journeys would still be by car, he accepted that the close proximity of larger settlements meant most of these would be relatively short for employment and shopping purposes. He found no evidence that existing facilities would be unable to cope with the increase in population.
The inspector rejected the appellant’s claim for costs, finding that the council had not acted unreasonably in concluding that the harm outweighed the benefits of the scheme. He commented that interpretation of paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework is not a clear-cut matter, with local planning authorities and the High Court taking different interpretations of what it means and how the balancing exercise required is to be followed. The council was entitled to rely on the framework in asserting that the scheme did not involve a sustainable form of development, he concluded.
Inspector: R Schofield; Inquiry