Editor's pick: Homes held out of accord with neighbourhood plan

The secretary of state has refused outline plans for up to 100 homes at a site in Staffordshire against an inspector's recommendation, out of concern that it would prejudice the neighbourhood planning process.

The site comprised college playing fields on the edge of a village. The secretary of state accepted that the area lacked a five-year housing land supply. In his view, the housing gain would be an important benefit which, along with an increase in local population to support local services and its contribution to economic growth, carried substantial weight.

However, he placed very substantial negative weight on the potential prejudicial effect on the outcome of the plan-making process. The neighbourhood plan had reached a stage that met a planning policy guidance criterion on prematurity, he found. Despite unresolved objections to the policies in the emerging neighbourhood plan, he agreed with the inspector that it had been prepared in conformity with the adopted local plan.

The secretary of state recognised a degree of conflict between the emerging local plan and the neighbourhood plan in relation to development in the area. However, he reasoned that this be resolved by local planning authority level in collaboration with the parish plan-makers, rather than by appeal. The cumulative impact of approving the appeal ahead of the emerging local and neighbourhood plans, compounded by the wider potential implications for neighbourhood planning nationally, were deemed sufficient to clearly outweigh the scheme's stated benefits.

Inspector: Terry Phillmore; Inquiry

DCS No: 200-003-064


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