0.7 hectare site considered major development in AONB

Ten new homes on agricultural land on the edge of a village in Devon were refused for their environmental harm to the scenic beauty of an area of outstanding natural beauty, despite a shortfall in housing in the area.

The inspector determined the outline proposal to constiutute major development in the area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) given its 0.7 hectare size. The council could not show a five-year supply of housing land and so paragraph 14 of the NPPF applied. The main issue in the case hinged on the impact of the development on the character and appearance of the area. The inspector considered the site had a distinctly rural feel despite its proximity to existing residential development. He felt it formed part of the wider landscape of the AONB with spectacular, panoramic views across the countryside. He also felt the site had great scenic beauty and played a key part in the distinctive ,high quality landscape setting of the adjoining settlement. Development here, he concluded would not conserve the scenic beauty of the "outstanding landscape". The inspector considered there were no exceptional circumstances in the public interest to allow the proposal and the council had identified, through the local plan process, other sequentially preferable sites for housing. In sum, he felt the proposal's environmental harm outweighed any social or economic benefits, did not constitute sustainable development and would have a serious adverse effect on the valued landscape of the AONB.

Inspector: Colin Ball; Written Representations

DCS NUmber: 400-013-818

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