The main issues focused on housing land supply and the scheme’s impact on character and appearance. Although no settlement boundary was defined in any plan, the site formed part of a larger field outside the present built-up area and the parties accepted that development in this location went against core strategy policy. The secretary of state accepted the inspector’s conclusion that the area’s housing land supply stood at less than four years, having regard to the difference between developable and deliverable sites.
In the absence of a site allocation plan to address the borough’s housing needs, he concluded that this policy conflict carried reduced weight and the NPPF presumption in favour of sustainable development applied. On that basis, he reasoned, the benefit of new market and affordable homes, along with the creation of construction jobs and support for the local shop, carried significant weight in the scheme’s favour.
The site did not fall within any landscape designation. However, a neighbourhood plan policy stated that the design and visual character of any new development in the village should make a positive contribution to forming a sense of place. The secretary of state agreed with his inspector that the proposal would disrupt the settlement pattern by extending development into open countryside beyond a well-defined edge and would not have sufficient regard for local distinctiveness or contribute positively to a sense of place. He gave very substantial weight to the clear identified harm to the landscape and to the conflict with development plan policy in refusing permission.
Inspector: Hayden Baugh-Jones; Inquiry