Village housing ruled out by neighbourhood plan

Conflict with a neighbourhood plan has led to dismissal of a proposal for 95 homes in a field on the edge of a large Oxfordshire bounded by an AONB.

The main issues were whether the site was sustainably located and consistent with the spatial strategy in the development plan, including a neighbourhood plan, and the scheme’s effect on the character and appearance of the countryside, the village setting and the landscape setting of the adjacent AONB. Under the neighbourhood plan, only a small part of the appeal site was allocated for 26 houses, so the inspector concluded that the proposal conflicted with the development plan.

The appellant sought to argue that the neighbourhood plan was out of date, mainly on the basis of a SHMA identifying a higher housing need figure and the plan being based on out-of-date information. Applying the 2016 written ministerial statement on neighbourhood planning in the context of an agreed 4.1-year housing supply, the inspector gave full weight to the neighbourhood plan. He noted that the community was embarking on a review of the plan, which he felt demonstrated their desire to keep on top of the process and did not suggest that the plan could be regarded as out of date.

The inspector found harm to a valued landscape to be localised but significant, since the field played a particularly important role in the setting of the village and the AONB. Applying the NPPF’s tilted balance to his decision, he was satisfied that harm arising from the conflict with the neighbourhood plan and the harm to the area’s character and appearance of the area, including the setting of the AONB and the village, would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the scheme.

Inspector: Kenneth Stone; Inquiry

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