Significant adverse impact on conservation area setting

A claim by a developer that up to 60 dwellings close to a conservation area in Buckinghamshire would not have more than a minor adverse impact on its setting was rejected by an inspector who decided that it would be significantly adverse.

The "staircase of harm to significance" was advocated by the appellant with the harm to the conservation area being somewhere close to the bottom of the staircase and the boundary of "less than substantial" in the context of the NPPF being half way to the top. Using this analogy the inspector decided that the harm would be materially greater, giving rise to a significant adverse impact on the heritage asset. This would be allied to an adverse impact on the local landscape with the housing having a somewhat detached feel from the rest of the settlement. Despite the absence of a five-year supply of housing land the scheme did not comprise a sustainable form of development and did not benefit from the presumption set out in paragraph 14 of the NPPF.

Inspector: David Wildsmith; Inquiry

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