Site judged a valued landscape

Concern over harm to a valued landscape within the setting of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has persuaded an inspector to reject a 155-home village extension in Somerset.

200-005-667 (Image Credit: North Somerset Council)
200-005-667 (Image Credit: North Somerset Council)

The inspector found that the district had a shortfall in its five-year housing land supply – a conclusion which carried considerable weight in favour of the scheme. Going on to consider the potential adverse impacts of the proposed development of 8.9 hectares of farmland in this location, the inspector had particular regard to the effect on the character and appearance of the area, including the setting of the village and AONB.

The site lay within a landscape with no special designation and the inspector made a careful analysis of the physical attributes of the site in accordance with the court judgement in Stroud District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Gladman Developments Limited [2015], to determine whether it formed part of the valued landscape identified to in paragraph 109 of the National Planning Policy Framework as meriting protection.

The inspector acknowledged that being part of the extensive setting of the AONB did not, by itself, convey any additional value upon the appeal site. Based on the landscape evidence, he found that the sum of the landscape quality, scenic quality, representativeness and recreational value of the site did set it apart from mere countryside.

Noting also that smaller schemes on neighbouring sites had been dismissed by other inspectors who had found them harmful to the landscape and village setting, the inspector went on to dismiss the appeal.

Inspector: Neil Pope; Inquiry


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