Village homes allowed as setting harm discounted

Impact on the rural setting and nearby heritage assets from a proposal for 28 homes outside a Somerset village would be acceptable, an inspector has decided.

400-017-050 (Image Credit: Boon Brown Architects Ltd)
400-017-050 (Image Credit: Boon Brown Architects Ltd)

The council accepted a pressing need for more housing in the district. An up-to-date local plan policy allowed for new housing to meet identified needs, particularly for affordable provision, subject to consistency with community-led plans. The inspector had regard to a 2012 community plan indicating a preference for small-scale development of five homes or fewer.

However, he decided that unlike a neighbourhood plan, which would have to go through consultation to ensure that it complied with council housing policies and reflected the evidence base, the community plan formed no part of the local development plan and carried only limited weight.

The inspector found that development of the site would have no noticeable impact on the setting of neighbouring grade I listed buildings and only a slight impact on the setting of a listed dairy. He judged that the field made only a limited contribution to the setting of a conservation area based on the village’s historic core. Heritage harm would be less than substantial overall, he ruled.

Taking into account the limited loss to the village’s setting and local distinctiveness, secured by retention of existing hedgerows and enhanced planting, he concluded that 18 market houses and ten affordable homes should be permitted, subject to a planning obligation making funding available for improvement of local recreational facilities.

Inspector: Colin Ball; Written representations

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