Green gap policy does not act as restraint on housing supply

Despite concluding that a local plan policy in Cheshire did not directly restrict the supply of housing land an inspector determined that the impact of up to 150 dwellings would not be significantly harmful to its role and function and allowed the developer's appeal.

The green gap policy was intended to maintain the separation between built-up areas and to protect the character of the landscape. In doing so the inspector agreed that the policy obviously sought to restrict development in such areas and was arguably more restrictive than another policy relating to development in the countryside. It did, however, act alongside the countryside policy and affected a considerably smaller geographic area, and the degree to which it could affect housing numbers and distribution was therefore considerably less. He therefore concluded that the green gap policy was not a relevant policy for the supply of housing.

The scale of development, leading to a reduction in the green gap by approximately 200 metres, was not inconsiderable, the inspector decided. It would also adversely affect the character of the countryside and landscape but the impact would be slight, in his view. The gap would remain effective in separating the two settlements, and the loss of some high quality agricultural land was also judged not to carry significant weight in the planning balance. The need to deliver more housing, given the absence of a five-year supply, and the provision of affordable homes along with other social and economic benefits enabled him to allow the appeal.

Inspector: Jonathan King; Inquiry

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