The seven hectares of mainly agricultural land had been identified in a recently adopted core strategy as a main location for employment and represented 31 per cent of the authority’s employment land commitments. The appellant challenged the viability of employment use, citing anticipated difficulties in obtaining access for commercial traffic from a neighbouring business site and a trunk road arising from a ransom strip and a need to purchase additional land to meet access standards.
The inspector said it was too early in the plan period, which runs to 2028, to assume that commercial interest would not emerge despite these difficulties, taking account of wider economic trends and a reducing supply of lower-risk sites. He also found that the scheme would take up the entire residual requirement for housing across all eight of the district’s first-tier settlements over the plan period.
Noting that existing housing commitments already meant the village would more than triple in size, he agreed that the council’s zero requirement for any more homes in this first-tier village was robust. As well as the employment land loss objection, he was also concerned that the appeal scheme would cause severe traffic impacts on the wider road network. He concluded overall that the proposal represented unsustainable development, despite the boost it would give to market and affordable housing in a sustainable location.
Inspector: Roger Catchpole; Hearing