Estate dismissed on plan policy and farmland loss

A fundamental conflict with local plan policies and loss of best-quality farmland have led to rejection of plans for 200 homes on the edge of a Gloucestershire village, against an inspector's advice.

The secretary of state accepted that the council was unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land. However, he found that the appeal scheme, which was proposed on the lip of a bowl in the landscape, would have a harmful effect on the character of land forming part of the setting of a nearby town. He also agreed that the undeveloped site made a positive contribution to local character and helped to counter the urbanising effect of development around it.

Despite a proven need for more open market and affordable housing, the secretary of state did not believe that this translated into a need to use best and most versatile agricultural land, given the scheme’s landscape and visual effects. He concluded that its benefits, while substantial, did not outweigh the harm identified. He also noted that an emerging neighbourhood plan sought to retain the site as countryside, thus maintaining the character of the neighbouring village and the town.

Inspector: Kath Ellison; Inquiry

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