The site formed part of a golf course which was no longer in use and the reporter looked at whether this meant that it was no longer of community value needing protection. She determined this was not the case as the open grassland and ancient woodland aspects of the site did still function as an accessible and landscaped open space which contributed to community wellbeing and therefore remained under the protection of the adopted local plan policies to retain such facilities. She also felt the site formed part of a wider green network and the treatment of green infrastructure in the proposals in terms of both retention and provision was inadequate. In addition, the reporter held the site was too far to the nearest bus stops for people to walk and the layout of the scheme would prevent existing residents from being able to access facilities by crossing the site as they did currently.
In assessing whether the housing land supply situation represented a material consideration outweighing the above harms, the reporter held it was a consideration but was not significant enough to result in an approval. This was because although there was probably a shortfall in housing, this was difficult to ascertain from the existing evidence and, in any event, SPP required any new housing allowed under this exception to still represent sustainable development and she did not feel the scheme complied with all the requirements, namely those for protecting and enhancing access to green infrastructure and supporting sustainable and active travel choices.
Reporter: Elspeth Cook; Written representations