Houses rejected on ridge and furrow farmland

An outline scheme for 93 houses, with 30 per cent affordable homes, in the countryside outside a Bedfordshire village was refused permission after an inspector found an adequate supply of housing land.

After examining the evidence to arrive at an up-to-date objectively assessed housing need and deciding on disputed sites, the inspector concluded the council could comfortably demonstrate a five-year housing land supply. In his view the overall strategy of the development plan had been shown to be effective in delivering the necessary level of housing and as the site was not in a sustainable location within the spatial strategy, development here conflicted with up-to-date policy.

Turning to possible conflict between the proposal and specific development plan policies, the inspector found no harm to rural landscape character and linear village setting, and the quality of the agricultural land was decided not to be best and most versatile. Substantial harm to the non-designated rural heritage asset of ridge and furrow land added weight to the conflict with fundamental spatial strategy already identified, and together outweighed the benefit of building new market and affordable homes.

Inspector: Michael Boniface; Inquiry 

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