• Inspector backs Cotswolds homes despite AONB harm

    16th May 2013 | News | Claire
  • If significant damage to an AONB isn’t a barrier, what is?

    We must continue to write to our MPs to put pressure on the cabinet.  They are the only ones who can change this downward spiral of environmental destruction looming……………………………………………………………………………………………………Neil Parish – .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  and Hugo Swire – .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    A planning inspector has approved outline plans for 120 homes in the Cotswolds despite the likelihood of ‘significant harm’ to the setting of an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

    Housebuilder Redrow Homes appealed against Tewkesbury Borough Council’s failure to determine the plans, which include proposals for up to 120 homes, public open space, facilities for sport and recreation and other associated infrastructure on land at Winchcombe in Gloucestershire.

    At the inquiry, Tewkesbury Council sought to block the proposed development for a number of reasons, including arguing that it was located outside the settlement boundary, it would be harmful to the character and appearance of the landscape.

    But in her report planning inspector Christina Downes said that there was a “serious short-term housing land supply deficit” in the Tewkesbury district, and this was an important material consideration in the development’s favour.

    Downes recognised that the appeal proposal would extend built development beyond the settlement edge resulting in a loss of countryside. However, she said that “this in itself is not a bar to development in a situation where the development plan policies relating to the supply of housing are now out of date”. 

    She added the proposal would cause “significant harm to the setting of the AONB, contrary to development plan policy”. However, she concluded that the project would still comprise “sustainable development”. 

    She said: “Whilst there would be significant landscape harm and conflict with development plan policy there would also be substantial benefits. Most notably these would include the contribution towards housing land supply in the face of a serious short term deficit. 

    “I have taken account of the appeal decisions proffered by the council where the lack of a five-year housing land supply was found insufficient to outweigh the harm to the countryside. However each case is different and here I have found that the balance of considerations is clearly in favour of granting planning permission, notwithstanding the policy conflict. I have considered all other matters that have been raised but have found nothing that alters my conclusion that the appeal should succeed.”

    Jeremy Cahill QC, head of law firm No5 Chambers’ planning & environment group, acted on behalf of Redrow Homes.