The site lay adjacent to the small town, identified as a local service centre and strategic location for development in a local plan formally adopted shortly after close of the inquiry. However, it was located outside of the defined settlement boundary and in the countryside where policy limited development.
It was common ground between the parties that the council could demonstrate a deliverable five-year housing land supply and the housing scheme conflicted with the development plan as a whole. In light of this, the main issue for the inspector was whether material considerations indicated a decision other than in accordance with the development plan. The inspector rejected the appellants' claimed benefits of providing housing in an accessible location given a context of an accumulated shortfall since the beginning of the plan period and a shortfall across the wider housing market area, also noting the policy compliant contribution of 30 per cent affordable housing from the scheme was very small relative to overall identified need.
Concluding the benefits that would arise from the scheme, even cumulatively, fell far short of outweighing the harm from a fundamental conflict with the recently adopted local plan and added landscape harm, the inspector dismissed the appeal.
Inspector: Michael Boniface; Inquiry