Local approach to housing delivery held a material benefit

A mixed-use development in the open countryside on the edge of a town in Gloucestershire was allowed by the secretary of state, in a re-determined appeal, to address a shortfall in housing land supply, the benefits of a "Local Approach" to housing delivery overcoming the conflict with the local and neighbourhood plan policies and harm to the character and appearance of the area.

The proposal comprised the delivery of up to 200 dwellings, including up to 40 serviced self-build plots, up to 37 retirement apartments and affordable housing, and community building, new public open space and new access.

The appeal was re-determined following the previous decision by the secretary of state for refusal being quashed at the High Court. The main consideration in the proposal remained as to whether, in the absence of a five-year housing land supply within the district, the harm to the character and appearance of the area, traffic conditions (including any undue reliance on travel by car) and highway safety, would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the scheme which comprised a wide choice of housing and a local approach to housing delivery secured by a S106 agreement.

The secretary of state agreed with his inspector that the council could not demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land and that the uncontested position was of a supply of less than three years. Therefore, he agreed that this rendered the relevant policies for the supply of housing in both the local and made neighbourhood plan, out of date. However, he gave full weight to the NP policy protecting the environment.

The secretary of state agreed with his inspector in affording moderate weight to the harm to visual amenity and loss of countryside from the proposal in the planning balance and limited weight to the harm from traffic conditions and air quality.

The secretary of state felt that the overall ethos of the "Local Approach" to housing delivery, proposed to be part of the planning agreement, and the opportunities which that would provide, was a strong material consideration carrying moderate weight. He noted that house building in the area had a history of being stalled and agreed that the Local Approach document could address this as it provided confidence of a well thought out proposition between two landowners, both of whom had considerable experience of delivering development. He further agreed with his inspector that given the way the housing market had operated in the area, under the control of major builders with little output, there was justification to conclude that an entirely different approach was necessary to maximise the potential for housebuilding, avoid direct competition with stalled sites and to make the development acceptable in planning terms.

Inspector: David Rose; Inquiry


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