Homes objection dropped after green belt rulings

The secretary of state has approved plans for up to 190 homes on greenfield land in the West Midlands after the local authority withdrew its objection to the scheme following a series of court rulings.

200-004-210 (Image Credit: Lioncourt Homes)
200-004-210 (Image Credit: Lioncourt Homes)

When the planning application was submitted, the adopted unitary development plan identified the site as safeguarded for housing. A subsequent draft local plan, adopted in 2013, identified the site as green belt and the application was refused solely on this basis.

In Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council v Gallagher Homes [2014], the courts ruled that the majority of the appeal site was not in the green belt and remitted the relevant parts of the plan back to the council for reconsideration. In light of the judgment, the council accepted that there were no material reasons why permission should not be granted. However, a range of third parties maintained their objections.

The secretary of state accepted that the council could not demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land and the scheme would deliver 40 per cent affordable units, for which there was a pressing need. He noted that a section of the site that remained in the green belt would be used to accommodate a sustainable urban drainage system, which in his view comprised an engineering operation that complied with the NPPF. The scheme had been designed to respond to existing trees, vegetation and the local landscape and the scale of development was not out of character with the adjoining settlement, he ruled.

Inspector: Phillip Ware; Inquiry

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