The site lay outside a defined settlement boundary and was classed as countryside for planning purposes, the inspector noted. However, the site did not lie within the open countryside but was bordered by existing residential development on three sides, he observed, deciding that as such, the proposal would not have a significantly adverse effect on the character of the open countryside.
Accident records indicated that in the previous five years there had been a number of personal injury accidents in the vicinity of the site, the inspector recorded. He judged that the proposal would increase the risk of accidents in the circumstances of the location, close to a bend and the brow of a hill, where footpath provision was inadequate and where a large volume of vulnerable road users including school children were present. The inspector also noted that separation distances would fall significantly short of the minimum distances set out in the council’s supplementary planning guidance across a large proportion of the development. As a result of these distances, living conditions would be compromised, he found, particularly with regard to privacy.
The inspector noted that the council could not demonstrate provision of a five-year supply of housing land. He recognised that the proposal had a number of beneficial sustainability credentials. The site was in a sustainable location, close to a secondary school and with good links to larger settlements and their services and facilities. The proposal would add to the supply of housing within the borough and would bring economic benefits in terms of on-going support for local services as well as during the construction period. Environmentally, the proposal would contribute to the protection of the natural and built environment. He concluded, however, that the adverse impacts of the development including the lack of a mechanism for the provision of a contribution towards affordable housing and education provision significantly and demonstrably outweighed the benefits of the scheme.
Inspector: S Ashworth; Written representations