Sarah Reid has successfully resisted an appeal against Harrogate Borough Council’s refusal to grant consent for 165 houses on a greenfield site on the edge of Harrogate, notwithstanding the Council’s inability to demonstrate a five year supply of housing. The Inspector emphasized that it is no part of NPPF policy that housing need must always override other considerations, and that the facts of the appeal brought that principle into “sharp focus”. In this case, the Inspector was “unequivocally” of the view that the site formed part of a valued landscape in accordance with paragraph 109 of the NPPF, that the landscape harm would be “serious”, “acute”, and that the proposal would “fundamentally undermine the intentions of local and national policy concerning landscape protection”. The case is notable in that the Inspector confirmed that the tilted balance in paragraph 14 was disapplied by virtue of the application of paragraph 109 NPPF. Further, the Inspector confirmed that “inadequate attention” had been given to the requirements of the NPPF on heritage, and that the harm to the setting of the Conservation Area would be “significant and substantial”. The Inspector concluded that overall, the aesthetic harm was “unusually severe for even a greenfield development of the type that is plainly necessary if the Borough of Harrogate is to meet its housing needs”, and dismissed the appeal.

A copy of the appeal decision is available here.


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