The inquiry considered reserved matters on an outline permission previously allowed on appeal and a subsequent full application. The council argued that its housing land supply position had changed since the original approval, in that it now had a five-year supply and no longer needed the quantum of housing proposed. It maintained that the site warranted a lower-density scheme in layout and character terms. The appellants maintained that a five-year supply could not be shown and that their scheme generally met the requirements of an adopted supplementary planning document (SPD) on housing layout and design.
In considering the appeals against relevant adopted local plan policies, the inspector noted that the plan was time-expired and its housing policies were too restrictive to be consistent with the NPPF. Regardless of the five-year supply position, he judged that the proposals accorded with the most relevant local plan policies for housing layout and design, especially given that the principle of housing development on the site was accepted and housing targets do not represent a ceiling.
He found that the proposed density of the new homes was not dissimilar to that in other developments around the site, despite layout constraints imposed by its former use for opencast mining. He also noted that the scheme included open areas to break up the built form. He was satisfied that, in the main, the layout and design met the SPD requirements. The scheme would not detract significantly from adjoining occupiers’ amenity nor from the area’s character and appearance, he concluded.
Inspector: Hayden Baugh-Jones; Inquiry