The inspector held the main issues were whether there was a five-year supply of housing land and the impact of the proposal on the setting of a nearby conservation area. Regarding housing supply, the inspector considered the council's case that the supply period should be 2017-2022 when they could show a supply of over five years and not 2016-2021 when they fell short of the five-year target. Noting that neither the NPPF nor PPG actually specify which five-year supply period to use, the inspector disagreed with the council and held that the most relevant period was 2016-2021 as that period included the date of the current appeal, included known completion rates, gave a greater degree of certainty over delivery and coincided with the local plan report. On that basis the inspector found that a five-year housing land supply could not be shown and paragraph 14 of the NPPF was enacted.
In assessing the environmental impacts of the scheme, the inspector noted Historic England's concern about the proposal's impact on the setting of a nearby conservation area but considered that any harm was minor and could be mitigated by landscaping and good design. He concluded the social and economic public benefits of the new homes, including 30 per cent affordable ones, outweighed the less than substantial harm to the heritage asset.
Inspector: Martin Whitehead; Inquiry