Durham refuses two Gladman applications for 470 homes in open countryside

Durham County Council has refused two applications submitted by land promoter Gladman for up to 470 homes in open countryside, in line with a recommendation from planners who advised that, despite key local plan policies being out-of-date, the scheme would be contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

A masterplan visualisation of the East Stanley development. (pic: Gladman)
A masterplan visualisation of the East Stanley development. (pic: Gladman)

The first application sought outline consent for 260 homes with public open space, landscaping, a sustainable drainage system (SuDS) and vehicular access on a 13 hectare site at East Stanley.

The second application sought outline consent for 210 homes with public open space, landscaping and SuDS on an 9 hectare site at Ushaw Moor.

On the first application, planners advised that the 1997 Derwentside District Local Plan (DDLP) remains the statutory development plan for the area and this contains policies restricting housing development in the open countryside.

Derwentside Council was merged into the new unitary Durham County Council in 2009. 

However, the report advised that, due to the age of the DDLP, these policies were now out-of-date and, as such, the National Planning Policy Framework’s (NPPF) presumption in favour of sustainable development would apply.

Planners noted that the results of the Housing Delivery Test (HDT) "indicates that housing delivery has been above the requirement over the last three years, which is evidence that the delivery of housing on the ground is on track and exceeding our housing targets."

It added that "a supply of 6.37 years of deliverable housing can be demonstrated."

Accordingly, the report said, "the weight to be afforded to the boost to housing supply as a benefit of the development is clearly less than in instances where such a healthy land supply position could not be demonstrated."

Planners also found that the scheme would "amount to a substantial and inappropriate incursion into the countryside ... and would lead to the coalescence of [the villages of] Stanley and No Place, which would result in significant adverse harm to the character of the local landscape" in conflict with the out-of-date local planning policies and the NPPF.

The NPPF policies related to achieving well-designed places and conserving and enhancing the natural environment. 

The report also advised that the application had "not demonstrated that the development would not have an unacceptable impact on highway safety", contrary to local planning policy and the NPPF.

It also said that the location of the development "would not promote accessibility via a genuine choice of transport modes" contrary to local planning policies and the NPPF.

Planners reached a similar conclusion on the second application. A report said that the development would "lead to severe impacts upon the transport network in the form of exacerbated delays" contrary to local planning policy and the NPPF.

The report also found that the scheme "would represent an encroachment into the surrounding countryside resulting in harmful landscape impacts" also in conflict with local and national planning policy.

Last month, Gladman withdrew an "unplanned" proposal for a 2,700-home garden village in East Suffolk after signals from the local council that the application would be rejected on the grounds that it was "not in accordance" with the area's development plan.

Also last monthPlanning reported that Gladman had pulled out of a smaller residential-led development in Cheshire, after local planners recommended that the scheme be refused.

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