Homes turned down on valley impact and affordability doubts

Impact on a valley landscape and uncertainty over affordable provision has resulted in dismissal of plans for 50 homes on the edge of an Essex town.

The inspector disagreed with the appellants’ landscape and visual appraisal, which concluded that the development would be in keeping with the town. In his view, it would project into the countryside and would not appear as a logical and well-planned extension. Even with new landscaping, he judged that the housing would not be readily assimilated into the settlement. Neither would it be possible, he held, to secure 50 per cent of the homes as affordable because a planning obligation had not been submitted and there were no exceptional circumstances to justify imposing a condition.

The council had less than three years’ supply of housing land, which the inspector recognised as a very significant shortfall. He also found that one of the policies on which it relied, seeking to protect the countryside for its own sake, was inconsistent with the NPPF. However, he concluded that the scheme failed to respect the need to protect the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and that its benefits did not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the harm caused.

Inspector: Andrew Smith; Written representations

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