The site lay outside the development boundary of a large village and the inspector accepted that such boundaries were of some age having been defined when the structure plan remained in force. While this did not render them out of date, he noted that a series of developments had been allowed outside such boundaries such that the existing urban form was markedly different from when it was first identified.
A claim that the council was able to demonstrate 5.06 years' supply of housing land also appeared to be optimistic since it was based on the ‘Liverpool’ approach to distributing the housing shortfall over the remaining plan period. The government generally favoured meeting the shortfall within the first five years and on this basis the council’s supply fell to 4.8 or 4.3 years if the appellant’s evidence was preferred. No other harm to the spatial strategy or the position of the village within the settlement hierarchy would result, the inspector decided, noting that the council accepted that the site was sustainable in transport terms. It would deliver much needed affordable housing and would contribute to boosting the supply of housing.
Inspector: Neil Pope; Inquiry