Council withdraws landscape objection after partial site allocation

A Somerset council withdrew its objection to a proposal for 59 dwellings on the edge of a large village, after deciding to allocate part of the appeal site for 28 dwellings.

An examination into a site allocations plan was undergoing examination and the examining Inspector had requested that the council should test the provision of additional housing sites to provide reassurance on the overall delivery to 2028. This would increase choice and flexibility to assist in demonstrating a five-year supply. In responding to this request, the council decided that the western portion of the appeal site should be allocated for housing and after cross-examination of the council’s planning and landscape witnesses, it conceded that the landscape and visual effects associated with the appeal scheme were not materially different to those that would arise should the allocation be built out. It therefore withdrew its reason for refusal with the objection and others being maintained by a local action group.

An Inspector agreed that the proposed development would be well contained in medium to longer distant views and with additional landscaping it would be heavily screened. While there was a conflict with a local plan policy which stated that schemes more than 25 dwellings should be brought forward as allocations in the development plan, the Inspector decided that this was outweighed by the absence of any other harm and the fact that the council was unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land.

Inspector: Paul Singleton; Inquiry

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