Policy wording criticised in brownfield housing approval

A residential development for 62 dwellings at a former school site in an established residential area of Dundee has been approved with no conflict with the development plan overall despite concerns regarding tenure mix and achieving regeneration objectives.

The council had refused the proposal amid significant community concern about the re-use of the site for housing. The appeal site was not allocated in the recently adopted local plan but had been the subject of an adopted planning brief for residential development in 2016. The reporter held that one of the most relevant local plan policies for determining the appeal was one which stated that brownfield sites might be acceptable for development where they improved the tenure mix in an area where existing choice was limited and where they made a positive contribution to the regeneration objectives of the area. But she opined this was difficult to fully comply with when there was no definition of what "the area" to be considered related to. Was it the immediate local area or the wider city area, for example. The council had not indicated any deficiencies in housing provision in either area. The reporter therefore accepted the appellant’s argument that, in the absence of identified deficiencies in tenure mix, the need to address tenure choice became at least ambiguous if not entirely irrelevant. As the proposal was for owner-occupied housing, she considered it could contribute to the provision of a range and choice of housing tenure on a city-wide basis. 

In terms of the regeneration element of the policy, even though the area was not specifically defined as a regeneration area unlike others referred to in the same plan, the reporter felt that bringing brownfield land into use for housing with associated jobs and investment could reasonably be defined as contributing to regeneration. She did not interpret the policy as requiring an area to be specifically defined for regeneration purposes. Equally, she noted the planning brief for the site did not signal any specific tenure requirements or additional regeneration objectives. The reporter concluded that, along with concerns about trees and biodiversity issues at the site, the proposal accorded with the development plan overall and could be approved subject to conditions.

Reporter: Allison Coard; Written representations

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