Benefits of new homes insufficient to outweigh harm to heritage assets

Up to 263 new homes on agricultural land in open countryside in Wiltshire were refused mainly for their cumulative harm to heritage assets, despite a housing supply shortfall in the area.

200-005-649 (Image Credit: Wiltshire Council)
200-005-649 (Image Credit: Wiltshire Council)

The inspector held the main issues were the impact on nearby listed buildings and the appearance and character of the area, flood risk and educational provision. For the latter two she found the issues could be resolved through conditions and planning obligations but for the former two, she found the matters remained unresolved despite attempts at landscaping and other mitigation.

With respect to the impact of the new housing on a listed farmhouse adjacent to the site, the inspector felt that the loss of the agricultural land which formed part of its setting and context would cause less than substantial harm, but at the higher end of the scale, despite a proposed buffer of open land and the fact that the farmhouse was no longer in agricultural use. Other listed buildings were similarly affected but to a lesser degree. The inspector also found the loss of open countryside and rural approach to the nearby settlement to the quantum of housing proposed would be locally harmful to the appearance and character of the area.

The inspector concluded that despite only a 4.25 years supply of housing, the presumption in favour of sustainable development did not apply because specific policies in the NPPF existed, namely paragraph 134, which indicated that development should be restricted. The public benefits of the housing, she held, did not outweigh the cumulative harms to the significance of the heritage assets.

Inspector: Karen Ridge; Inquiry

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