Significant benefit of affordable homes outweighs limited increase to local congestion

65 new homes in open countryside on the edge of a village in Hampshire were allowed to boost housing supply in an area of need, despite limited harm to the character of the area and some increase to congestion in the adjoining village.

Having established through a statement of common ground that a five year supply of housing land could not be shown for the district, one of the main issues in the planning balance was the impact of the traffic generated from the proposal on highway safety in the adjoining village - an issue that had raised many local objections. The council had also raised the setting of a nearby AONB as an issue but the inspector felt the distance and limited visibility between it and the site rendered any impact marginal.

The inspector accepted the appellant's transport assessment using up to date trip generation forecasts compared against real time traffic surveys which revealed sufficient capacity in the nearby village streets. He concluded queue lengths at some roads may increase but not significantly and the resulting impacts would not be severe enough to withold permission. Notably, no objections from the highways authority had been received. Despite there being two serious vehicular accidents in the village, the inspector noted neither of these could be related to congestion at the village shop, which was the local residents main concern.

In his conclusion, the inspector felt the proven need for, and almost 50 percent proposed provision of, affordable housing was a significant benefit outweighing the limited harms to local character and congestion in the paragraph 14 tilted balancing exercise.

Inspector: Richard Duggan; Inquiry


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