• Tipton appeal inquiry for 56 houses gets off to a good start

    7th December 2011 | News | Claire
  • The field in question, the subject of an appeal by Devonshire Homes, is between Mallocks Close and Otter Close on the edge of the village near Coombe Cross junction.

    The two opposing legal teams sat facing each other, with the planning inspector, David Prentis (the same inspector who oversaw the Eastfield appeal) at the head of the room.  To the inspector’s left was a table and chair reserved for witnesses.

    The appellant’s barrister set out the grounds for the appeal which were: 

    – to demonstrate that the land was in a sustainable location
    – to challenge the council’s five year land supply arrangements (see the Blue Cedar Homes appeal blog for more information on this technical issue)

    The council’s defence team included their barrister, Richard Ground, Lynne Schwen and James Brown, senior planning officers, Matt Dickins, planning policy manager and Andrew Seddon, from the legal team.

    Around 20 Tipton residents were in attendance and many registered to speak.  While I was there yesterday morning, Bruce Marshall and Lyn Harding outlined their concerns. I understand that resident, Janet Croud spoke in the afternoon and although she was cross-examined by the appellant’s barrister, she performed very well.

    I spoke and gave a list of my concerns as follows:

    Acceptability in principle
    – the land is outside the built-up area boundary
    – the application, particularly in its size, is contrary to the existing Local Plan and the Devon Structure plan
    – it is also contrary to the emerging Local Plan, which states that Tipton St John should receive around 10 houses until 2026

    Housing land supply
    – Mr Prentis’s previous appeal report on Eastfield had confirmed that West Hill was NOT at the principal urban area.  Clearly Tipton St John cannot be described as at the PUA as it is further east than West Hill

    Design
    – the application is an overdevelopment of a field of around 4 acres.  It is too big, overbearing on properties at Otter Close and Mallocks Close and is of a density more appropriate to a town or city, not a small village such as Tipton St John.  The application would grow the village by around one quarter.

    Sustainability
    – the application, due to its size and position was not in a sustainable location as it is remote from key services, including employment and large shops.  The bus service is infrequent and the increase in traffic would be considerable – around 390 extra traffic movements every day.

    During his cross-examination the appellant’s barrister showed me a map of Tipton St John and asked me about my views on where development should go.  I replied that speculating on where might be the best place to put houses would prejudice my position as a councillor. 

    Devon County Council Highways officer, Phil Townsend was grilled by appellant’s barrister for about one hour on the sustainability of the land in question.

    The inquiry is expected to last until tomorrow.