The village lay close to Swindon but was separated from it by a trunk road. It had already seen considerable growth since 2011, from around 600 to 900 dwellings. The council acknowledged a significant five-year housing land supply shortfall but considered the proposal a disproportionate further addition to the village that would not comply with the development plan in terms of spatial strategy, promotion of inclusive communities or protection of the natural, built and historic environments. The appellants argued that these policies were out of date in the context of the housing land supply position.
The inspector found the proposal contrary to the development plan as a whole and gave this significant weight in the interests of a genuinely plan-led planning system. However, he found limited harm to the landscape and the rural character of the village from the proposal. Although the location would not minimise travel or support sustainable transport, he judged that it was not poorly located, given its proximity to a major town. The loss of the golf course as a community facility carried only limited weight, he held.
He saw significant benefits from the provision of the additional dwellings, 30 per cent of which would be affordable. Although this percentage was required by policy, he accorded additional significant weight to this element, given a shortfall in the supply of affordable housing in the area. He concluded that policies for the supply of housing in the development plan were out of date and that none of the adverse effects of the development, either individually or cumulatively, outweighed its significant housing benefits.
Inspector: Robert Jackson; Inquiry