The inspector carefully considered the two sides’ interpretation of paragraph 14 of the NPPF. Citing William Davis Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Others  and Wenman v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government , the council claimed that a two-stage process was required to determine whether the scheme was sustainable and then, if it was proven so, whether the scales should be tipped to give effect to the presumption in favour of development set out in paragraph 14.
Citing Tewkesbury Borough Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government , the appellants claimed that where a five-year supply of housing land cannot be demonstrated, relevant local plan policies should be regarded as out of date and given little weight, implying a presumption in favour of granting planning permission.
Quoting Crane v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government , they maintained that, pursuant to paragraph 49 of the NPPF, the presumption in favour of sustainable development was engaged if relevant policies were out of date. Under such circumstances, they argued, the second step required would be to assess whether the scheme’s benefits were significantly and demonstrably outweighed by the benefits.
The inspector found nothing in government policy or relevant court cases requiring two balancing exercises in determining whether a development proposal is sustainable. He noted that Dartford Borough Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  rejected a formulaic approach to be followed in a step-by-step sequence. He concluded that the harm caused by the scheme’s impact on countryside character and appearance and the village’s setting significantly outweighed its benefits, so it would not be sustainable development.
Inspector: John Woolcock; Inquiry