Martin Carter instructed by Gladman Developments Limited, has assisted them to secure planning permission on appeal for a major scheme for up to 150 houses on a greenfield site on the edge of Long Melford, Suffolk.
The inquiry was held in June and July last year, with the Secretary of State recovering the appeal for his own determination part way through the inquiry. The scheme was opposed by the Council on landscape and visual grounds and also on the basis of an alleged lack of local need for the development. The Development Plan required local need to be addressed. At the time of the inquiry, the Council accepted it did not have a five year supply of deliverable housing land.
The Secretary of State issued his decision on 1st April 2020. In the period since the inquiry, the Council produced a new housing supply calculation, claiming it now had a deliverable five year supply – a contention which the Secretary of State accepted. The Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector that the proposal was in breach of the Development Plan taken as a whole, because the site was located outside of the built up area boundary and would cause some landscape and visual harm. However, he found that landscape and visual harm would only be moderate and largely confined to the site itself, with a limited impact on the wider area. He also concluded, again, agreeing with the Inspector, that the settlement boundary was out of date.
The Secretary of State accepted that the Appellant had demonstrated a local need for market and affordable housing, to which he attached significant weight, even though there was a District-wide five year supply. The scheme also provided land for an Early Years Centre for which there was a need and the Secretary of State gave significant weight to that benefit too. He also afforded moderate weight to the economic benefits flowing from the scheme and to highway improvements which would benefit existing residents as well as cater for demands created by the scheme.
The Secretary of State agreed with the Appellant and the Inspector that the scheme would cause no harm to the significance of any of the numerous heritage assets in the area, including a number of Grade I listed buildings, a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Conservation Area.
The decision is significant because the Secretary of State did not consider that the tilted planning balance applied, given the housing supply position and because he concluded that the most important policies for determining the application were not otherwise out of date. He, therefore, applied the orthodox balance set out in s38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. Despite that, he concluded that there were material considerations which indicated a decision otherwise than in accordance with the Development Plan was justified in this case and so he allowed the appeal.
Martin called as witnesses: Stuart Carvel of Gladman (Planning), David Schumacher of Prime Transport Planning (Highways), Gail Stoten of Pegasus (Heritage), Gary Holliday of FPCR (Landscape and Visual), Jonathan Dixon of Savills (Housing Supply) and Matt Spry of Lichfields (Local Need).
A copy of the decision can be found here.
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