Inspector Aston has granted planning permission, following a public inquiry, for the erection of up to 40 dwellings on a site in Quainton, Aylesbury Vale. The Council had opposed the scheme primarily on landscape grounds and the contention that the scheme would not constitute either development adjoining the settlement boundary or backland development, for which the policy allowed, and this included an assertion that the scheme was contrary to a made neighbourhood plan.  

The neighbourhood plan point was a somewhat novel one in that the Council accepted that the wrong version of the Quainton neighbourhood plan had been made.  The made or rather published version did not include modifications to a ‘Housing, location of development’ policy central to the determination of the appeal that had been recommended by the neighbourhood plan examiner and endorsed by the Council.  Consequently, there were two potential versions of the policy in existence.  The Inspector deftly dealt with this issue by assessing the scheme against both potential versions of the policy and finding compliance against both.  

The Inspector generally favoured the appellants‘ landscape evidence and refreshingly recognised in his decision that: “Clearly the change from an open field to a housing development, even allowing for landscaping and planting, would have a permanent effect and a consequent change in the appreciation of the immediate landscape by formation of a new edge to it.  However, this would also be the case in relation to any greenfield development proposal…”
The appeal potentially raised interesting points of interpretation regarding the NPPF glossary definition of “deliverable”.  Ultimately, as the Inspector found the scheme was compliant with the adopted development plan, he did not need to determine the 5-year supply issue and so these points of interpretation remain unresolved for now.  
Paul Tucker QC and Freddie Humphreys were instructed by Jacqueline Mulliner of Terence O’Rourke Ltd on behalf of the appellants and Pye Homes. The decision can be found here.


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