Javid refuses appeal for 85 homes in Northamptonshire against recommendation for approval

The communities secretary has blocked an appeal for 85 homes in Northamptonshire and allowed plans for 26 homes in Derbyshire, in both cases rejecting the recommendations of planning inspectors.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid
Communities secretary Sajid Javid

Both appeals had been recovered by the secretary of state because they involved developments of more than 10 homes in areas with emerging neighbourhood plans.

The first decision involved an appeal for 85 homes, 30 per cent of which would be affordable, on farming land on the edge of the village of East Barton, Northamptonshire.

Wellingborough Borough Council refused the application by housebuilder Redrow Homes and co-applicants J M Beatty and I S Clark in January 2014.

Former communities secretary Eric Pickles refused the appeal in March 2015, against the recommendation of planning inspector Keith Manning.

However, Pickles’ decision was judicially reviewed and quashed by the High Court in November 2015, meaning that it had to be reconsidered.

Since then, the Earls Barton Neighbourhood Plan was made part of the local development plan in January and the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Spatial Strategy was adopted in July.

A letter sent on behalf of the current communities secretary Sajid Javid, also dismisses the appeal. It says he considers that the proposal "conflicts" with the joint strategy, the saved policies of the local plan and the neighbourhood plan.

The communities secretary, it adds, agrees with the inspector that "there are considerable benefits in terms of economic stimulus relevant to the government’s growth agenda and the proposed development would serve the national priority to boost significantly the supply of housing".

Though the "housing benefits should be accorded substantial weight", these "should be viewed in the context of his finding that the council can demonstrate a housing land supply of approximately eight years".

It goes on to say that the secretary of state "does not agree with the inspector … that there is a lack of demonstrable environmental harm".

Instead, he places "moderate weight" on both the loss of a public footpath through the site" and "the strong possibility" of the loss of agricultural land.

Javid also "had regard to" paragraph 198 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) "which states that where a planning application conflicts with a neighbourhood plan that has been brought into force, planning permission should not normally be granted."

In the second appeal decision, Javid allowed plans for 26 homes, 10 of which would be affordable, on farming land on the edge of the village of Ashover, Derbyshire.

Developer Marsh Green Estates appealed against the decision of North East Derbyshire District Council in June 2015 to refuse outline permission.

Inspector Jonathan Clarke had recommended that the appeal be dismissed because of the harmful impact on the locally-designated Ashover Valley Special Landscape Area that surrounds the village.

According to the letter on behalf of Javid, both parties agree that the council can only demonstrate a "1.79 year supply of housing land". Under paragraph 49 of the NPPF, this means the local development plan’s housing supply policies are considered out-of-date.

The letter says that Javid "agrees that the appeal site is in a visually sensitive location and .. is part of a valued landscape".

However, he "gives substantial weight to the contribution which the appeal scheme would make to helping to achieve the government’s aim of boosting the supply of housing in a district where the supply of suitable housing sites is heavily constrained and there is a clear need for more market and affordable housing to be delivered, with a particular need for more affordable housing in the village of Ashover". 

The Earls Barton decision can be found by clicking the link below.

The Ashover decision can be found by clicking the link below.

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