Council wins costs after second appeal failure

Full costs have been awarded against a developer for pursuing previously rejected plans for 211 new homes on the edge of a historic market town in Buckinghamshire.

The appeal site comprised nearly ten hectares of pasture land. The secretary of state agreed that the predominant issues revolved around whether a five-year housing land supply could be demonstrated, and hence the weight to be afforded to local and neighbourhood plan housing location policies, and the scheme’s impact on the area’s appearance and character.

The inspector found that, at the time of last year’s inquiry, the council could only demonstrate a 4.6-year supply of housing land, thus triggering the tilted balance in paragraph 14 of the NPPF. By the time the secretary of state considered the appeal, further evidence led him to conclude that a 5.6-year supply existed and paragraph 14 no longer applied.

The secretary of state agreed with the inspector that the proposal would conflict with the made neighbourhood plan, which designated the land as open countryside outside the settlement boundary, and that it would result in significant visual harm to the surrounding landscape character area. He found insufficient material considerations to justify a decision other than in accordance with the development plan.

The secretary of state accepted the inspector’s recommendation that a full award of costs was justified against the developer, on the basis that the appeal proposal concerned the same development, on the same site, assessed against the same development plan policies and national policy, as one dismissed by his predecessor in 2014.

Inspector: Kath Ellison; Inquiry

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