Derbyshire council refuses 180-home Gladman scheme despite out of date plan policies

A Derbyshire local authority has rejected land promoter Gladman Development's plans for 180 homes on a countryside site, despite an officer recommendation that the application be approved because key local plan policies were out of date.

Amber Valley Borough Council. Image: Dave Bevis / Geograph
Amber Valley Borough Council. Image: Dave Bevis / Geograph

Members of Amber Valley Borough Council's planning committee dismissed the firm's outline plans to develop a 6.8 hectare site near the village of Somercotes, citing concerns about highway safety and site contamination.

Officers had advised that the use of a greenfield site outside the village did not accord with the council’s 2006 local plan, which seeks "to resist inappropriate development in the countryside".

The local plan states that planning permission will not be granted outside the built framework of settlements unless development relates to residential extensions, replacement dwellings, or rural-based activities, they said.

However, officers recommended approval on the basis that the relevant local plan policies were judged to be out of date when viewed against the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

A blanket restriction on housing development was "inconsistent" with the NPPF, officers said, citing the framework’s emphasis on the need to increase levels of residential development and a requirement to make provision for rural housing.

While Amber Valley is able to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, officers advised that the current supply is only 211 homes above the minimum level.

Officers referred to the local authority’s recent decision to withdraw its emerging plan from examination, despite councillors being advised of the "high risk" of doing so.

"Following the withdrawal of the submission local plan, there is currently no emerging plan for Amber Valley to make provision to meet housing need, including any unmet need from Derby," officers said.

"The application proposals would therefore contribute towards meeting unmet need."

They added: "The site is considered to be situated in a sustainable location. It is well related to the built form with good access to local services and facilities."

The plans were opposed by Somercotes Parish Council, which objected to a likely increase in traffic caused by the development. Local residents lodged 21 letters of objection and one neutral representation, the report said. 

Last week, Gladman was refused consent for 200 homes on an unallocated site in North Yorkshire after officers advised that the proposal was contrary to local planning policy and "unacceptable on its planning merits".

Last month, a planning inspector cited concerns over traffic flows to refuse permission for a 240-home Gladman scheme on an unallocated greenfield site in Nottinghamshire.

Also last monthplanning inspector dismissed an appeal by Gladman against a council's refusal for a 420-home development, despite the local authority lacking a five-year housing land supply.

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