377 homes refused in Milton Keynes 'valued landscape' despite lack of five year land supply

Plans have been refused for 377 homes on agricultural land to the north of Milton Keynes despite recognition from planners that the council cannot demonstrate a five year housing land supply.

Land off Little Linford Lane (Pic: Philip Jeffrey via Geograph)
Land off Little Linford Lane (Pic: Philip Jeffrey via Geograph)

Applicant Grand Union Housing had proposed to build the homes on the site at Little Linford Lane, in the village of Little Linford. The hybrid application sought full consent for an 81-home first phase, with outline consent for the remaining 296 homes.

Recommending refusal, a planning report said the scheme "by virtue of its location outside the settlement boundary of Milton Keynes, would represent an intrusive form of development in the open countryside which is identified as an Area of Attractive Landscape in the [adopted Milton Keynes Local Plan 2001-2011], which would be detrimental to the open, rural character of the locality".

It added that the proposal would result in "the loss of a substantial area of varied habitat and appearance and would harm the special landscape character of the area in this regard, providing an urbanised character and appearance to the land".

Planners advised that a recent appeal decision in the area suggested that the site should considered to be part of a "valued landscape", as protected under policy in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). 

Planners said that, although the council cannot demonstrate a five year housing land supply, the NPPF’s presumption in favour of sustainable development did not apply because the scheme would not constitute a sustainable form of development "by reason of its poor accessibility and significant distance from local services for future residents".

The report also advised that the development "would have an adverse impact on the surrounding road network" and "adequate mitigation has not been offered".

The application was refused.

Last week, Planning revealed that the number of planning appeal decisions on cases which involved debates about "valued landscape" issues have rocketed since the introduction of the NPPF in 2012. 

In July, a High Court judge backed an inspector's refusal of 175 new homes in nearby Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire, despite the absence of a five-year housing land supply over landscape harm.

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