Low landscape sensitivity supports urban housing extension

A site on the edge of a village envelope in Oxfordshire was judged capable of accommodating up to 120 dwellings given the relatively low sensitivity of the landscape and its ability to accept new development without significant harm.

400-016-882 (Image Credit: Boyer)
400-016-882 (Image Credit: Boyer)

Various core strategy policies which sought to protect the district’s distinct landscape character and the landscape setting of settlements were not relevant policies restricting the supply of housing, an inspector determined, following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Suffolk Coastal District Council v Hopkins Homes Ltd and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2017]. Consequently, and despite the council being unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land, these policies were consistent with paragraph 17 of the NPPF which recognised the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside.

However, the inspector also noted that the site did not lie within a designated landscape and did not contribute to the setting of the village conservation area. The council’s landscape capacity study identified the site as having low to medium landscape and visual sensitivity and concluded that there was scope for some development. In the inspector’s opinion the harm would not be significant and since it was close to services and amenities in the village centre it was sustainable. The tilted balance in paragraph 14 of the NPPF applied, and given the magnitude of the housing shortfall, there was a need to boost the supply of open market and affordable dwellings.

Inspector: Mike Hayden; Written representations

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