Rural affordable housing policy outweighed by ministerial statement

Six bungalows and a cottage on disused land within the built-up area of a rural settlement in Gloucestershire were approved despite a lack of affordable housing provision in accordance with adopted local plan policy requirements.

The only issue in the case related to the provision or not of affordable housing which the council contended should be made as per the 2013 adopted local plan policy which required proposals of five dwellings and above in rural areas to make an equivalent of a 35 per cent contribution. The inspector noted, however, that this approach conflicted with the Written Ministerial Statement of 2014 stating that affordable housing contributions should not be sought in developments of 10 units or less. The inspector afforded the WMS significant weight as a statement to be read alongside the NPPF.

Despite the council providing evidence of local housing need through the HomeChoice register and housing delivery and stock reports, the inspector held the evidence was limited with respect to actual need in the settlement concerned and therefore did not diminish the weight afforded to the WMS, especially when the new homes would provide greater choice in the village and when the council was unable to provide a five-year supply of deliverable sites. The inspector concluded the WMS outweighed the conflict with the adopted local plan policy.

Inspector: David Walker; Hearing

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