Safeguarding of land no protection in area of housing shortfall

270 new homes on agricultural land outside a settlement in north Yorkshire were allowed on the basis of housing need, despite the land being safeguarded for future use in the local plan.

The inspector considered the main issue in the case was whether the land should be kept free from development for the time being. In considering this issue he looked mainly at the five-year housing land supply position. It had been agreed before the inquiry that the council could not show a five-year supply of housing and claimed to have only 4.6 years' worth. However, the inspector agreed with the appellant that the council were overestimating the contribution two large sites would make to the housing delivery as they were dependent on significant infrastructure coming forward which had not materialised. He concluded that this resulted in the supply position being even lower. This lack of supply rendered the local plan policies restricting development on safeguarded sites and those outside of settlement boundaries as out of date, to be afforded little weight in the planning balance.

The inspector noted that the proposal was acceptable in environmental terms and was in a sustainable location near to a local service centre and on that basis the social and economic benefits of the housing, including 40 per cent affordable, meant the development could be regarded as sustainable land should be used sooner.

Inspector: Richard Schofield; Inquiry

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