SOS refuses homes for conflict with neighbourhood plan

85 dwellings on agricultural land adjoining a settlement in Northamptonshire were refused by the secretary of state in a recovered appeal, following the quashing of a previous decision by the High Court, as being contrary to the more recently adopted local and neighbourhood plans with no material considerations to determine otherwise.

The secretary of state disagreed with his inspector's decision for approval of the scheme made in 2014. He had agreed the main issues mainly revolved around compliance with the development plan, impact on the countryside and loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land. Since the original decision the circumstances had changed in that both the local plan and neighbourhood plan had been adopted/made and therefore the weight to be attributed to the issues had changed, but the secretary of state again found against the appeal in a similar vein to his previous decision of April 2015, which had been quashed by the High Court.

The secretary of state determined that the proposal conflicted with policies in the local plan which promoted the use of previously developed land first and the neighbourhood plan which had not identified the site for development. He also determined that there was an eight-year supply of housing land, unlike the 2014 appeal where there was a shortfall and therefore developments should be determined in accordance with the plan unless there were material considerations to suggest otherwise. The secretary of state also disagreed with his inspector regarding the weight to be afforded the environmental harms of loss of a public footpath and loss of possible high quality agricultural land. In conclusion, the secretary of state found that the substantial benefits of the housing provision were not sufficient to overcome the environmental harms and conflict with the neighbourhood plan.

Inspector: Keith Manning; Inquiry


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