Persistent underdelivery justifies housing plans

The secretary of state has allowed a scheme for 150 dwellings on farmland near Leeds after finding no evidence of a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites across the council area.

The site had been removed from the green belt and was designated as a protected area of search for future development needs. The secretary of state found that, on past performance, a 20 per cent buffer against underdelivery of housing land should apply. On that basis, he calculated that the city’s five-year requirement would be 31,898, or 6,379 units per annum.

He found no policy to show how delivery of any houses, never mind in the numbers required, would actually take place. A safety margin of 2,262 dwellings could soon be whittled away when realism was applied and the council could not show a robust five-year supply, he held.

He found that provision of a vehicular access to the appeal site would not necessarily harm the appearance of the nearest settlement. In his view, its character would not be significantly affected and there would be no adverse impact on existing residents’ living conditions. Noting the inspector’s comments on dwelling size and density, he found no overriding reason in design terms to justify a density lower than 30 dwellings per hectare.

Inspector: Kenneth Barton; Inquiry


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