Rule 6 party wins refusal of new homes on landscape grounds

Outline permission for 170 new homes has been refused on agricultural land on the edge of a village in Leicestershire, despite an identical and concurrent application having been approved by the council post inquiry, the adverse landscape impacts of the scheme held by the inspector to outweigh the benefits of the housing in an area of shortfall.

The council had not opposed the scheme, but the local parish council and residents had and constituted a Rule 6 Party. The main issues, the inspector held, were whether the council could show a five year supply of housing land, highway safety and landscape impact.

The inspector disagreed with the Rule 6 Party regarding the first two issues and found in favour of the appellant, namely that a five year supply of housing land did not exist and there were no severe residual cumulative highway safety or traffic impacts arising from the proposal. However, with respect to landscape impact the inspector held the development would fail to respect national, local and neighbourhood plan policy, because it would extend the village eastwards onto higher ground with alien urban development that would break the skyline and destroy the remnant of ridge and furrow on the edge of the village as well as native hedgerows. He concluded that the proposed development would result in significant harm to the local landscape. He acknowledged that the neighbourhood plan policies were not yet part of the development plan because it was not yet ‘made’, but that conflict with them should be given substantial weight.

Inspector: Nick Fagan; Inquiry

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