Countryside protection policy out of date given national framework

A development of 28 houses on the edge of a village in Warwickshire has been permitted, an inspector agreeing with the appellant that the council could not demonstrate an adequate supply of housing land and a countryside protection policy was out of date.

The council alleged that the scheme conflicted with certain core principles within the national planning policy framework including the need to conserve and enhance the natural environment. It stated that whilst the land had no specific landscape designation it formed part of a larger ‘candidate’ special landscape area as proposed within an emerging core strategy. Development would also have an adverse impact on the field pattern which was a dominant visual element in the landscape.

The inspector agreed that the site’s landscape value was high since it allowed the rural landscape to extend into the centre of the village. But the scheme would allow the northern part of the site which linked the countryside with the heart of the settlement to remain free from development and the layout and overall design of the development had been carefully considered. A planned area of open space would retain the physical and visual link to the open countryside. It would be perceived as a small continuation of the settlement’s built form with higher land remaining undeveloped. It therefore represented a ‘thoughtful’ response to local circumstances and in the absence of an adequate supply of housing land, the council’s policy which sought to limit development in countryside locations, was not consistent with national policy.

Inspector: G Jones; Inquiry

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