Urban extension conflict with draft neighbourhood plan rejected

A development of up to 300 dwellings on the edge of a settlement in Lincolnshire has been approved, an inspector deciding that it would not harm an emerging neighbourhood development plan, and affordable housing should be provided at 20 per cent of the total.

The site comprised approximately 13ha of land abutting the built-up area. The inspector favoured the appellant’s analysis of the likely impact of the development on the character and appearance of the area. A series of development frameworks and masterplans indicated that the housing would be broken up with a central open strip and tree planting along the edges of the development. Once the planting matured it would restrict views of the development, he held, and would not unacceptably reduce a gap between the settlement and neighbouring village.

With regard to the council’s claim that 30 per cent of the housing should be affordable, the inspector placed weight on an economic viability assessment produced as part of the evidence base underpinning the emerging core strategy which suggested that in rural parts of the district provision should be at 20 per cent for economic reasons. In his opinion this analysis supported the appellant’s claim that the council’s own policy analysis should be given significant weight.

A neighbourhood plan was in the process of being prepared but since the document did not allocate sites for development allowing the appeal would not prejudice its future adoption. Although it would not maintain the openness of the site the connection to the countryside via a public footpath would remain and, given the need to boost the supply of housing, the appeal was allowed.

Inspector: Richard Clegg; Inquiry

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