• Glos housing decision reveals creeping planning mayhem

    20th February 2013 | News | Claire
  • The ruling shows that the damaging effects of the National Planning Policy Framework are becoming more and more widespread throughout the country. 

    National planning mayhem is well on its way.  And with it large-scale environmental destruction

    The story is in Planning below and here – http://www.planningresource.co.uk/news/1171002/pickles-approves-300-gloucestershire-homes/  ………………………………………………………………………….

    Plans for nearly 300 homes at two separate greenfield sites outside Tetbury in Gloucestershire have been approved by the communities secretary Eric Pickles.

    The first application, for outline planning permission for up to 250 homes, an access road and landscaping on land at Highfield Farm on the northern edge of the town was rejected by Cotswold District Council in 2011.

    The second application, submitted by a separate developer, for outline planning permission for up to 39 homes and associated works on land to the south of Berrells Road and the west of Bath Road to the south of the town, was refused by the council in 2012.

    Both decisions were appealed and both were subsequently recommended for approval by the same planning inspector, following public inquiries.

    However, having weighed up all of the material considerations, the letter said the secretary of state agreed “that the material considerations in favour of the proposed development outweigh the conflict with the development plan”.

    In its grounds for refusing the second application at Berrells road, the council also referred to the location of the site within countryside outside any defined development boundary.

    It also raised concerns about the site’s status as undeveloped rather than previously developed land; the fact that the council was then progressing two applications for residential development on previously developed land within Tetbury’s development boundary, which it considered would have a material impact upon its housing shortfall; and the effect the development would have upon the character and appearance of the Cotswolds AONB and upon the setting of Tetbury.

    In her report the inspector again concluded that the proposed development would “fundamentally conflict with adopted development plan policies aimed at restricting residential development on land which, like the appeal site, lies outside any settlement boundary and inside an AONB”.

    However, because the council could not demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing, she said the National Planning Policy Framework’s in favour of sustainable development should apply.

    A decision letter send on behalf of Pickles said he agreed with the inspector’s conclusion. It added that the “benefits of the proposed development in this case decisively outweigh the conflict with the development plan, and all other material considerations including the harm that would be caused to the AONB”.

    For the first application, the council’s main grounds for refusal included: that the location of the site was outside any defined development boundary and within an Area of Outanding Natural Beauty (AONB); concern that major residential development of the proposed scale could undermine the emerging development strategy and pre-empt community consultation and participation; the need to prioritise previously developed rather than undeveloped sites; and the effect the development would have upon the character and appearance of the Cotswolds AONB, the setting of Highfield Farmhouse (which is a Grade ll listed building), and the setting of the historic market town of Tetbury.

    A decision letter sent on behalf of the secretary of state said he agreed with the planning inspector’s conclusion that the proposed development would conflict with the development plan. However, it added that he considered that there were “material considerations that weigh in favour of the proposal, in particular the ability to contribute to meeting the severe shortfall in market and affordable housing provision, on a site that is well located to Tetbury, and which would provide scope for improvements to the setting of the town and benefits for the local and national economy”.

    The letter said that Pickles agreed with the inspector “that the main considerations weighing against the proposal are the reduction in the natural beauty of the AONB; the reduction in significance of Highfield House as a designated heritage asset; and the loss of grade 2 agricultural land”.