Out-of-date spatial strategy prevails

An inspector rejected an outline scheme for up to 56 dwellings on farmland outside an Essex village, finding it a suburban-scale development in the wrong location.

The site lay outside an expanded village with a reasonably good range of services and facilities relative to its size, but in a location which did not accord with development plan spatial strategy steering development to urban areas while allowing a limited amount consistent with community needs within village settlement boundaries. The appellant did not contest the council’s current position that a five-year housing land supply could be provided, but argued the spatial strategy drafted to meet development needs up to 2011 must be considered out-of-date and the tilted balance engaged. The inspector agreed.

The inspector noted housing land supply considerations in the past had led to residential development being allowed by the council or on appeal adjacent to but outside the village boundary, with other inspectors giving conflict with development plan spatial strategy only moderate weight. Nevertheless, he considered the current proposal would have a harmfully suburbanising impact on rural setting by almost coalescing with the sporadic development in a neighbouring hamlet, in conflict with development plan landscape policies. He also had regard to a recent appeal decision in which an inspector had rejected a proposal for 50 houses outside the village after concluding that the amount of development granted permission in the village recently was more than could be considered limited. The inspector concluded that whilst out-of-date, the adopted spatial strategy remained consistent with NPPF principles for plan-led sustainable development and patterns of growth to maximise the use of previously-developed land and recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside. In his opinion, the boost to housing was outweighed by the adverse effects of the breach of development plan policy and he dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Jonathan Price; Written representations



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