Clark refuses 200 Gloucestershire homes over neighbourhood plan conflict

The communities secretary has refused an application for 200 homes on a site at Lydney in Gloucestershire, against an inspector's recommendation of approval, after he concluded that, amongst other factors weighing against the proposal, the development would be in conflict with a neighbourhood plan.

Communities secretary Greg Clark
Communities secretary Greg Clark

Forest of Dean District Council had refused outline planning permission for the scheme which would have delivered up to 200 homes, including up to 20 serviced self-build plots, and up to 37 retirement apartments and a community building.

Following an appeal and an inspector’s subsequent recommendation of approval, the application was recovered by Greg Clark because the appeal involved a potential conflict with a neighbourhood plan.

A decision letter issued this week said that Clark considered that the council’s lack of a five-year housing land supply "and the contributions that the appeal proposal would make to increasing the supply of market and affordable housing weigh substantively in favour of the appeal".

"Also weighing in favour of the appeal are the social, economic and environmental benefits identified by the Inspector", the letter said.

But the letter went on to say that "weighing against the appeal … is the conflict with the emerging [site allocations document] and emerging Lydney Neighbourhood Development Plan (LNDP), to which he gives moderate weight; and the adverse impact on landscape and character to which he also gives moderate weight. He also gives limited weight to traffic impacts and the adverse effect upon air quality…"

Overall, the letter said that Clark considered "that the adverse impacts of the appeal proposal would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework taken as a whole".

It continued: "He therefore concludes that that there are no material considerations that indicate that the proposal should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan."

A statement issued by consultancy Hunter Page Planning, which acted on behalf of the appellant Allaston Developments, said that the developer "is now looking at challenging the secretary of state’s decision on the grounds that he has relied on the wrong policies."  

"Clearly this will lead to further delays in the delivery of sustainable new homes in the Forest", it added. 


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