Sustainable homes rejected in green belt

A development of 56 homes in the Durham green belt has been rejected after an inspector decided that its sustainable design should not outweigh the fundamental conflict with planning policy.

The appellant explained that the development was intended to be a showcase for sustainable development, incorporating solar photovoltaic panels, triple glazing, heat recovery systems and reed-bed waste water disposal. He asserted that such features would reduce carbon and waste water emissions to a negligible amount, meeting all the requirements of national guidance on sustainable housing. The inspector applauded the appellant's commitment to developing the site in a sustainable manner.

However, he held that the sustainability benefits had to be assessed in the context of the use of land, which like carbon and water was a finite resource. He held that the loss of a greenfield site in the open countryside would seriously undermine the development's sustainability credentials. The benefits of ecologically friendly homes could be obtained on brownfield sites, he held. In the absence of very special circumstances, he concluded that the scheme had to be refused.

DCS Number 100-050-355

Inspector Malcolm Rivett; Hearing.

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