The secretary of state agreed with the inspector that, although the appeal site was designated as safeguarded land in the urban development plan, the plan period ended in 2006, and accordingly the absolute requirement to retain safeguarded land as open no longer applied. Therefore, the development of the appeal site would not be unacceptable in principle. In respect of the character and appearance of the area, the secretary of state agreed that the only significant adverse effect would be on the setting of a hill. However, as the effect would be localised, he found that the development would not give rise to a material conflict with the core planning principles in paragraph 17 of the NPPF. The secretary of state further agreed with the inspector that the provision of additional housing to contribute to land supply was a matter that merited significant weight. In addition to this, he agreed that the development would provide important economic benefits and improvements to a country park which merited moderate weight. Overall, like the inspector, the secretary of state considered that the adverse effects of the proposal would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits and, hence, in accordance with paragraph 14 of the NPPF, the presumption in favour of sustainable development indicated that permission should be granted.
Inspector: Richard Clegg; Inquiry