Larger houses allowed in light of viability claim

An inspector removed a condition on planning permission for 29 dwellings on the edge of a Yorkshire village to allow larger homes to be built on the site after a council failed to successfully challenge the appellant's viability evidence.

Permission had been granted in 2014 for 29 two and three bedroomed houses on the disused and neglected site and it was agreed by both parties that the footings for one plot had been secured, and so the permission remained extant. The appellant sought to remove a condition tying the development to drawings specifying layout and house types. The application had been refused because the council considered that the proposed change to three and four bedroomed houses, and the lack of any provision for affordable housing, would not provide a satisfactory mix of housing, as set out in a strategic housing market assessment of 2016.

The main issue for the inspector was whether or not the condition remained reasonable and necessary having regard to the supply and mix of housing in the area. Finding a detailed viability assessment supporting the application which showed that the provision of affordable housing and smaller housing types would render the scheme unviable, and no evidence from the council to dispute the viability assessment, the inspector concluded the appeal should succeed. She granted a new permission, with a new condition, in line with that suggested by the appellant, in place of the disputed one.

As the council had not adequately substantiated its reason for refusal, she considered this to be unreasonable behaviour that had directly resulted in the need for an appeal, and made an award of costs in favour of the appellant.

Inspector: Alison Partington; Written representations

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