Inspector cites lack of housing land supply to allow 450 Somerset homes

A planning inspector has granted permission for 450 homes on an unallocated site on the outskirts of Nailsea in Somerset, after finding that the local authority's lack of a five-year housing land supply meant the proposed scheme's conflict with an adopted core strategy should be overlooked.

An artist's impression of plans for 450 homes near Nailsea. Image: Mactaggart and Mickel Homes
An artist's impression of plans for 450 homes near Nailsea. Image: Mactaggart and Mickel Homes

Developers Mactaggart and Mickel Homes submitted plans for a site to the north of Youngwood Lane and east of Netherton Wood Lane in June 2016 and subsequently appealed against North Somerset Council’s failure to determine the application.

North Somerset Council later advised the inspector that it would have refused the application, due to the proposed scheme’s conflict with its 2017 core strategy and the emerging West of England Joint Spatial Plan.

Advising of his decision, the inspector noted that the application site falls outside the Nailsea settlement boundary but also that: "There is no dispute between the parties that the council cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of housing."

The inspector advised that the council’s land supply position meant the weight that could be attached to the scheme’s conflict with the core strategy was reduced.

Describing the "weightiest factor" in the overall planning balance, the inspector said: "There would be social benefits arising from the provision of up to 450 new dwellings, 30 per cent of which would be affordable."

He added: "In the sense that the development of open countryside is such a disbenefit, it cannot carry significant weight because the undersupply of housing in North Somerset can only realistically be remedied by the release of at least some greenfield sites."

Earlier this month a planning inspector dismissed an appeal by land promoter Gladman against Herefordshire Council's refusal for a 420-home development, despite the local authority lacking a five-year housing land supply.

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