Urban extension not prejudicial to emerging local plan

An appeal in Cambridgeshire was allowed, an inspector ruling that the construction of approximately 180 dwellings together with the change of use of part of a golf course to a country park would not be prejudicial to an emerging local plan.

The only adverse impacts identified by the council were environmental, the inspector decided. These related to the loss of open countryside and the narrowing of a gap between existing settlements. These were inevitable landscape and visual consequences of the adopted core strategy which identified a need for greenfield land to the west of the town to be used for housing. This must have included the appeal site, the inspector decided. A draft allocation in the emerging local plan would have the same consequences and given the unusually extensive open space and landscaping proposed, the scheme would not have a materially adverse impact on the landscape. In his opinion, it would be unreasonable to delay issuing permission to enable the draft local plan to be considered at examination.

The government wished to boost the supply of housing significantly and the draft plan had yet to be submitted for consideration. This could mean a delay of at least two more years, and if permitted it would still require over 200 additional homes to be provided in the town. Compared with the total required in the district over the plan period it would represent only one per cent of the strategic requirement. As such it would not be critical to housing delivery in the council’s area.

Inspector: Robert Mellor; Hearing

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