Council faces costs over drainage overload claim

A Gloucestershire council has been ordered to pay full costs following an unnecessary appeal after it sided with local objectors and refused permission for nine new houses in a village.

The council could demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites but acknowledged that the relevant local plan policy was time-expired and out of date in the context of the National Planning Policy Framework, so the tilted balance in paragraph 14 applied. Finding that the site was not in a valued landscape and identifying no adverse impacts to outweigh the benefits of the boost to housing supply, the inspector concluded that the proposal would amount to sustainable development.

The council had refused permission, against officers' advice, on the basis that the extra homes would exacerbate existing foul drainage problems and increase flood risk. The water authority acknowledged that sewers in the catchment had historically been overwhelmed after prolonged heavy rainfall and high ground water levels, but said it was planning remediation works and did not object to the proposed homes. In the absence of technical evidence to support the council's concerns, the inspector decided that it had acted unreasonably and incurred unnecessary costs for the appellant.

Inspector: Richard Jones; Written representations

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