Motorway buffer zone allowed for housing contrary to policy

A buffer zone adjacent to a motorway in a Lancashire town has been allowed for 25 new homes, despite a policy protecting the area in the adopted local plan against loss of openness.

The impact of the proposal on a key urban landscape and woodland opportunity area was the main consideration for the inspector. She noted the character of the site was semi-rural and it acted as an open buffer zone between a motorway and existing housing. However, an extant permission already existed for 20 dwellings on the site as a fallback and she felt the new scheme was an improvement as it included a landscaped bund, a woodland and a retained hedgerow. The inspector felt the proposal would still act as an, albeit smaller, buffer zone as not all the site was being developed. She felt it would not conflict with some elements of the adopted local plan policy to preserve the open character of the area.

On balance, she felt there was moderate harm to the character and appearance of the area from the loss of openness and therefore overall conflict with development plan policy, but that the provision of 25 new dwellings, including four affordable, in an area with an accepted shortage of supply afforded significant weight. In summary, she opined the adverse impacts did not outweigh the benefits of the needed new homes and the sustainable development outweighed the conflict with the development plan. 

Inspector: Katie McDonald; Written representations

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