Intrusion into countryside erodes village setting

A proposal in outline for five dwellings on rough pasture land on the edge of a Northumberland village has been rejected as damaging to the relationship between settlement and countryside and setting a precedent for further harm.

Saved local plan policy defined a settlement boundary around the village and restricted development in the open countryside beyond, with an emerging core strategy being far from adoption. Finding on the issue of housing supply that a five-year supply did exist, the inspector gave weight to the time expired policies, deciding they supported NPPF objectives of protecting the intrinsic beauty and character of the countryside and the distinctiveness of settlements. Further, the inspector considered that a precedent would be set for a harmful cumulative erosion of the small fields around the edge of the village.

The emerging core strategy proposed the settlement boundary as defining the green belt boundary around the village as it was intended to be inset. Noting the function and purpose of such boundaries to be different, a lack of any analysis of why it was necessary to keep the site open for green belt purposes, and unresolved objections awaiting the outcome of examination, the inspector found no harm to the green belt. Neither this or any other matters altered his conclusion that the appeal should be dismissed.

Inspector: David Cullingford; Hearing

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