Village homes blocked as contrary to local policy

A development of 72 homes would not represent a sustainable expansion of a West Sussex village and would adversely affect landscape character, the secretary of state has ruled.

The inspector noted that historically a five per cent buffer had been applied in assessing whether the area had a five-year supply of housing land. The appellant claimed that market conditions should not be taken into account in assessing delivery rates, but the inspector accepted that the supply of sites after 2008 was to some extent outside the council’s control. In his opinion, applying a 20 per cent buffer would be inappropriate and the council could demonstrate a five-year supply.

The council’s policies recognised that villages such as this one might require additional housing to sustain them but indicated that this should be achieved via local or neighbourhood plan allocations. The plan also supported windfall developments, but the inspector reasoned that these were to be secured within existing settlements and not by allowing schemes in the countryside.

The appellants’ plans to grade the housing density would do little to mitigate the scheme’s impact because it would still appear as a tight-knit development when viewed on the ground, the inspector determined. He concluded that it would not relate well to the surrounding landscape, would not contribute to a sense of place and would harm the setting of heritage assets. The secretary of state agreed that the harm identified outweighed the benefits.

Inspector: Stephen Papworth; Inquiry

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