Sequential test required to support housing in flood risk areas

An inspector was unable to support a scheme for 127 dwellings in Oxfordshire because part of the development lay in flood zones 2 and 3 and the appellant had not undertaken a sequential test as required under the NPPF.

In rejecting a proposed modification involving a reduction in the number of houses to 60 on the basis that it would potentially prejudice the council and third parties, the inspector noted that in 2007 a serious flood event affected the site and adjacent properties. This involved both surface water and fluvial flooding. The appellant’s flood risk assessment confirmed that large parts of the site lay within flood zones 2 and 3 and on this basis the development conflicted with the NPPF unless no alternative sites at lower flood risk were available. Since no such examination had been undertaken the development was unacceptable. Despite the council being unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing, since footnote 9 of paragraph 14 of the NPPF specifically excluded areas of flood risk, the presumption in favour of sustainable development did not apply.

Inspector: Terry Phillimore; Inquiry

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