Damaging reduction in settlement separation from new housing

A gap between two settlements in Surrey would be unacceptably compromised, an inspector decided, in dismissing an appeal for up to 150 dwellings.

The development would extend beyond the built-up area and the inspector concluded that, whilst in the vicinity of the appeal site some elements of urban fringe could be observed, the prevailing pattern was farmland, woodland blocks, hedgerows and loose knit development giving overall a semi-rural character. The site itself was free from built development and had a far greater affinity to the open rural and semi-rural areas to the south, east and north, he determined. As planned, the scheme would fundamentally alter the character of the site and breach a clearly defined urban edge and would be out of character with the largely linear development to the west.

Coupled to this harmful incursion, he opined, was the related impact of reducing a gap between the two settlements. This would be particularly noticeable when viewed from the public footpaths and an area of greenspace. Overall, the physical separation would be reduced by one-third and the land that would remain included a farm and horse paddocks. This emphasised the important open aspect of the appeal site, he concluded, and dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Simon Warder; Hearing

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