Urban extension supported despite adequate housing supply

The construction of up to 75 dwellings on the edge of a settlement in Essex was permitted despite the council having been able to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land. A partial award of costs was also made in favour of the appellant.

The town contained a Co-op supermarket and a cluster of shops which lay 800 metres distant. A main line railway station lay at a similar distance, the inspector noted, and was 1,300 metres from a secondary school. He accepted that the site did not perform strongly in terms of encouraging pedestrian access to some services residents would access daily, but off-site improvements would encourage non-car trips which would be supplemented with a travel plan. Taken in the round the site performed acceptably in terms of sustainable transport and there were no objections to the proposed access from the highway authority.

Despite being able to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land, the inspector decided that the impact on the countryside would not be overly harmful and it represented a sustainable form of development. A partial award of costs in favour of the appellant was made since the council, at the beginning of the inquiry, agreed that its objection on residential amenity grounds was not being pursued. This was despite the appellant having tried to agree this position in a statement of common ground.

Inspector: Hywel Wyn Jones; Inquiry

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