The council had recently adopted a new local plan releasing sites for development and its first annual housing monitoring report showed a five-housing land year supply. The inspector found credibility in the appellants’ evidence questioning the deliverability of some of the sites upon which the plan relied, which in turn cast doubt over the robustness of the council’s claimed housing supply position.
Judging that relevant policies for the supply of housing were on the cusp of being out of date, he concluded that the tilted balance in the NPPF should apply and only limited weight should be given to the settlement boundary. In the final balance, however, he remarked that the scheme’s housing benefits would be limited because it would deliver only a quarter of the new homes towards the end of the relevant five-year supply period.
He also observed that delivery of the remaining 300 dwellings beyond that period would conflict with the settlement hierarchy and spatial distribution set out in the local plan. Taking into account the marginality of the forecast housing shortfall and the inexact nature of the forecasting process, he concluded that the scheme’s housing supply benefits were outweighed by policy conflicts that rendered it unsustainable.
Inspector: David Rose; Inquiry