Inspector defends tenuous but recently demonstrated five-year supply

41 new homes in open countryside on the edge of a village in Kent were refused for undermining the settlement strategy of a 2017 adopted plan, harm to the intrinsic value of the countryside and encouragement of car use.

The recently adopted local plan’s settlement policies defined the village as one which was not required to meet the housing target, but to meet local needs within its built-up boundaries. Although the site was well contained and the inspector stated there would be no harm to the character or appearance of the area, he felt encroachment into open countryside would have a negative impact on its intrinsic value which the settlement policies sought to protect. He also felt the lack of significant transport links to and from the village meant the location was not one that would make the fullest possible use of public transport, walking or cycling and would therefore encourage car use.

The inspector dismissed the appellant’s argument, that the five-year housing land supply (demonstrated as part of the recent local plan examination) was tenuous and did not allow for much tolerance should housing sites fall away, stating that national policy was predicated around achieving a five-year supply including an additional buffer and nothing more than that. On that basis, he felt the local plan was not out of date. He also felt that the fact that the plan was soon to be reviewed was irrelevant and the slow progress of some allocated sites did not necessarily mean that they could not still be delivered within the five years. Hence the inspector concluded the overall findings of the local plan inspector demonstrating a five-year housing land supply existed should not be set aside. 

Inspector: David Smith; Written representations

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