Housing site fails to meet definition of infilling

Plans to increase the number of houses permitted on brownfield land outside a small Derbyshire village from two to six was rejected by an inspector as not being the limited infill in a rural area envisaged by local plan policy.

The appeal site formed part of a larger site with planning permission for six houses granted on appeal in the context of a housing shortfall and where four of the houses had already been built. The appellant argued the scheme represented infilling but the inspector noted the site bordered open countryside on two sides and was a considerable distance from built development on another, concluding that development of the site would not close a gap between buildings or fill a gap in the continuity of development and as it could accommodate six houses it was not the small gap envisaged by policy.

The inspector concluded the proposal was contrary to spatial strategy and as the council could now demonstrate a five-year housing land supply this policy attracted full weight. She also noted that in determining the previous appeal the inspector had given considerable weight to the provision of executive housing to meet an unmet demand and to improvement in the appearance of the site. In the scheme before her these benefits would not be realised as the dwellings would be considerably smaller and laid out in a suburban design at odds with the spacious rural character of the site surroundings and with little room for the generous planting needed to mitigate the effects of development. On balance, she judged the benefits of boosting housing supply and reusing previously developed land efficiently did not outweigh conflict with the development plan and dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Zoe Raygen; Written representations

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