Council planning officers had recommended that the scheme be approved in view of the need for additional food shopping facilities in the area, which would eventually accommodate 800 homes. Councillors favoured a more central site, but the inspector found that no suitable land was available and the majority of residents could walk to the appeal site within five minutes.
In assessing council claims that the site was originally masterplanned as open space, he agreed that some residents might well have bought houses nearby on the assumption that it would retain its open character. Its inclusion in the masterplan and a legal agreement for open space did not mean that it should be protected, he held. In his opinion, its redevelopment would not harm the character and appearance of the wider development.
DCS Number 100-050-789
Inspector Roger Pritchard; Hearing.