The council could demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land and the inspector had to decide whether building outside the settlement boundary amounted to the sustainable development supported by the NPPF. The site, comprising three small grass fields, formed part of a former miner’s smallholding of a type listed by UNESCO as one of the key attributes of Cornwall’s copper and tin mining heritage landscape.
The inspector concluded that even though the appeal site represented only a very small percentage of the overall WHS, the loss of similar fields prior to the UNESCO heritage designation in 2006 meant that the severity of the impact would have a major adverse effect on the WHS.
The development had been advanced as a rural exception site, but the inspector found that the proposal did not meet the definition of such schemes in the glossary to the NPPF. The proposal represented a significant increase in housing and could not be considered a small site in relation to the size of the village, he decided.
He was also unconvinced that a planning obligation providing for 51 per cent of the units to be affordable was the highest proportion that could be viably achieved at the site. Overall, he did not consider the public benefits arising from provision of additional market and affordable housing substantial enough to outweigh the environmental and social harm to the WHS.
Inspector: Robert Jackson; Written representations