The council had initially agreed that it could not demonstrate an adequate supply but argued that a draft local plan had been submitted to the secretary of state for approval. This had included a complete re-assessment of housing need and the ability of various sites to contribute towards the supply. The appellants, in response, claimed that the final housing figures had yet to be tested at an examination and a 20 per cent buffer should be applied.
Although in some previous appeals other inspectors had agreed that the council did not have a five-year supply of housing, the inspector in the case before him decided that the emerging local plan and the more recent assessment of sites gave him sufficient confidence to conclude that circumstances had changed. Taking the last five years as an indication of persistent under-delivery was too short a period, he opined, since this did not take into account the peaks and troughs in the housing market cycle. Nor did five years necessarily reflect the delivery performance under a previous plan regime.
The scheme would lead to the loss of part of a field and despite additional landscaping it would blur the distinction between the edge of the village and the open countryside. The provision of in excess of four hectares of open space would do little to offset this harm, he determined.
Inspector: Nick Fagan; Hearing