Housing estate judged out of scale with village

An inspector has dismissed a proposed 52-dwelling extension to a small village in the Cheshire countryside, deciding harm to the rural setting of the village and a lack of integration with the historic pattern of the settlement outweighed the benefit of additional market and affordable housing.

The council could not demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land, and so development plan policies restricting the supply of housing, including those in a recently made neighbourhood plan, were out of date. In considering what harm the development would cause, the inspector assessed the 2.9 hectares of pasture land as having an integral role in the mosaic of open countryside surrounding the village, concluding development here would detract from the rural setting at a key transition point. Recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside was a core plan planning principle of the NPPF, and the scheme did not do this in the inspector’s opinion.

In addition, while the village had historically grown organically, the proposed large estate would be out of scale with this pattern of development in the inspector’s view, conflicting with NPPF paragraph 61 aim of integrating new development into the natural and built environment. Neighbourhood plan policy allowed for housing growth in the village but sought, by restricting greenfield development immediately adjacent to the village to a maximum of 15 new houses, to keep it small scale and in character. The appellant argued the need for housing sites outweighed the neighbourhood plan but the inspector found the scheme also offended national planning policy on the countryside and integration of new development, such that the scheme was not sustainable development and dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Victoria Lucas-Gosnold; Hearing

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