It was agreed in this case that a 20 per cent housing supply buffer was appropriate. What was not agreed was the point at which that buffer was applied. An inspector noted that paragraph 47 of the NPPF indicated that the purpose of a 20 per cent buffer was to provide a realistic prospect of achieving a planned supply and to ensure choice and competition in the market for land. The inspector therefore considered it appropriate to apply the buffer to the total requirement, which would include a shortfall. The inspector considered that the current supply was a best case scenario and might well be further reduced and require adjustment through the release of other sites identified in a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment. A five-year supply of deliverable housing land could not therefore be demonstrated.
The proposal would lead to the loss of some open countryside and would cause some harm to the character and appearance of the area, in particular in views from a public footpath and neighbouring residential properties. However, the proposal would include substantial environmental benefits, including generous on-site open space and ecological enhancements, along with a reduction in the flood risk to the village, by providing additional drainage capacity in the event of a breach of the defences through the opening up and re-routing of a culvert across the site as an open water course around its perimeter. Given this, the highly accessible nature of the site and the boost to housing supply the scheme was considered acceptable.
Inspector: Karen Baker; Inquiry