The council accepted it needed to release sites outside of development boundaries to meet the housing needs of the district. In deciding the scheme did not qualify to be measured against the stricter tests applied to major development in an AONB by NPPF paragraph 116, the inspector gave greater weight to the conclusions of a council commissioned report that did not identify the area in which the site lay as unsuitable for town expansion, than he did to a strategic housing land availability assessment finding that development here on rising topography would intrude into a sensitive part of the AONB.
The inspector decided the site possessed few important landscape characteristics and the proposal would have very limited impact on the special qualities of the AONB as listed in the AONB Management Plan. He, therefore, concluded that the proposal would conserve the natural beauty of the AONB, and some small harm to the character and appearance of the countryside would be outweighed by a boost to five-year supply of housing and 50 per cent affordable housing in an area with considerable need. He allowed the appeal.
Inspector: J Roberts; Hearing