Village homes rejected on travel grounds

Planning permission and conservation area consent have been refused for a development of 12 homes in a village near Bristol on the grounds that it would exacerbate the level of commuting.

The council's local plan sought to concentrate "urban housing needs" in four main towns, none of which covered the appeal site. It explained that this was intended to minimise the number and distance of commuting journeys, increase the main towns' self-containment and reduce the proportion of people travelling to work, particularly into Bristol, from smaller settlements.

The inspector noted that the phrase "urban housing needs" was not defined in the plan. The council suggested that affordable housing, sheltered and retirement homes and live-work units might be considered exceptions to the local plan policy because they would not meet urban housing needs and so might be acceptable on the appeal site.

The inspector voiced concern that this approach was unduly restrictive. However, he accepted that the underlying aim was to reduce the level of out-commuting for work purposes. He agreed that allowing 12 houses in the village would in all probability lead to a substantial number of future occupants travelling to larger towns. This was clearly contrary to planning policies seeking to reduce dependency on cars for all types of trips, he held.

DCS Number 100-050-352

Inspector Jon Roberts; Inquiry.

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