Allocated site favoured in land supply calculation

A pressing need has not been shown for 120 homes proposed outside the settlement boundary of a linear Essex village, an inspector has ruled.

The appeal site comprised farmland and a motor vehicle workshop. The parties agreed that the council could demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land. However, the inspector endorsed colleagues’ decisions in other recent appeals that the council’s spatial strategy and settlement boundaries were out of date, so the tilted balance in favour of sustainable development in paragraph 11 of the NPPF applied.

The appellant promoted the site as being more sustainably located in relation to local facilities, and having less impact on the countryside, than land outside the village allocated for 280 houses in an emerging plan. Seeing every prospect that the allocated site would be developed at some stage, the inspector decided that it would be pre-emptive to allow development of a non-allocated site to partly replace allocated land, albeit in an emerging plan. Overall, he decided that a pressing need for the proposed homes had not been demonstrated, given a more than marginal district-wide housing land supply and an emerging spatial strategy making provision on another site. The scheme would deliver too many houses in relation to the village’s anticipated role, he concluded.

Moreover, in the absence of a planning obligation, he judged that the proposal would fail to provide affordable housing or to mitigate its impact on education and healthcare provision. He also expressed concern over urbanisation of an open rural landscape and development at depth outside a linear village. The scheme would not represent sustainable development, he concluded.

Inspector: Simon Warder; Written representations

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