Greenfield loss and settlement setting impact agreed as being acceptable

Outline planning permission was granted for up to 120 dwellings on the edge of a large village in Oxfordshire, its impact on the local landscape and setting of a conservation area judged not to be overly harmful, and an inspector also ruling that there was a policy vacuum in respect of the amount of housing which should be provided in such locations. In parallel the inspector also allowed another appeal for up to 80 dwellings in the village (DCS No. 200-004-222).

200-004-222 (Image Credit: Terence O'Rourke)
200-004-222 (Image Credit: Terence O'Rourke)

The appeal site was not subject to any formal landscape designations, and the housing would undermine the locality’s rural, green and open character, the inspector concluded. The harm would be reduced and mitigated by a range of factors including its location on the edge of a green wedge and the inclusion of a large area of open space within the layout. Existing topography would be retained and additional planting undertaken including reinforcing historic field patterns. The site was also judged to be well connected to the existing village envelope.

In relation to the impact on the conservation area the inspector accepted that there was some inter-visibility with a group of historic buildings. The scheme also contributed to an understanding of the historic development pattern but it would not materially diminish the prevailing small field enclosure. Thus the setting of the conservation area would be preserved.

The spatial strategy for the area sought to support and enhance larger villages as local service centres but the precise amount of new house building was to be determined through a site allocations development plan. No sites had, however, been allocated, the inspector concluded, and this had led to a policy vacuum as to how much development should be permitted. The village was a sustainable location and both of the main parties agreed that at least 160 dwellings should be provided. On this basis the harm the inspector had identified did not demonstrably outweigh the benefits.

Inspector: Roisin Barrett; Inquiry

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