Housing land supply shortfall outweighs need to retain open greenspace

Twelve houses were granted permission in Worcestershire on land identified as primarily open space because the council was unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land.

The site lay within the urban area of a large town. A previous inspector, in dismissing an appeal in 2013, concluded that the site was important visually and recreationally. It did play an important recreational role for local residents to walk their dogs and there was support for developing a strategy that would enable the space to be better utilised by the community. However, public views of the site were somewhat restricted and other areas of primarily open space existed. While not as convenient, since they lay 300 metres distant, the inspector concluded that they did provide a viable alternative.

In reviewing housing land availability the inspector agreed that a long term view should be taken in assessing whether a five per cent or 20 per cent buffer should be applied. This allowed peaks and troughs to be evened out. Notwithstanding this conclusion the inspector nonetheless held that one of the major sites relied on by the council was unlikely to deliver the number of houses estimated which would effectively cancel out the 99-dwelling surplus. The loss of the appeal site to housing was therefore justified.

Inspector: Beverley Doward; Hearing

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