Buffer should include backlog in calculating housing requirement

Permission has been granted for 175 dwellings on Grade 3 agricultural land adjoining a service centre in Yorkshire, the inspector concluding that a lack of five year housing land supply rendered local plan policy out of date and the social benefits of the scheme outweighed the loss of agricultural land. The decision follows the quashing of a previous decision by the High Court.

An inspector considered the main issues to be the existence or not of a five year land supply, the sustainability or otherwise of the scheme and the merits of any other material considerations. In terms of the five year supply of housing land she considered that the level of under delivery in the past was beyond the local authority's control but that a five % buffer should be added to the backlog as well as the housing requirement for calculation purposes. In addition, market signals uplift was rejected in the absence of an area-wide consideration of the housing market area as a comparison. She concluded there was a lack of five year supply of housing land and therefore existing housing supply policies in the adopted local plan were rendered out of date. In sustainability terms, the inspector felt the environmental and economic loss of six hectares of Grade 3 agricultural land would not affect the agricultural holding's overall prospects nor significantly affect the visual appearance of the area and that the significant social and economic benefit of 50% affordable homes would outweigh this loss. No other material considerations were found to prevent the scheme going ahead.

Inspector: Ava Wood; Inquiry

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