The sites lay within a 195-hectare green wedge which a unitary development plan policy recognised as being of great value in terms of amenity within the conurbation, offering open space, recreation and public access. Another policy endorsed development supporting recreational use, including the development of a strategic network of routes of city-wide importance.
The secretary of state concluded that any need to release green belt or other greenfield land to meet housing needs attracted little weight. The council’s adopted plan clearly sought to protect the site from the type of development proposed, he observed. In his view, both housing schemes would detract from the openness of the greenway and lead to a small but unacceptable degree of harm to the land’s recreation and amenity value. Since the council could comfortably demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land, he considered that the benefits of improving the supply of affordable and family housing, while attracting significant weight, did not outweigh the harm caused.
Inspector: Michael Boniface; Inquiry