Appeal allowed and outline planning permission granted for up to 65 dwellings in Earls Barton

Thu, 02 Aug 2012

Ian Dove QC, instructed by Pegasus Planning Group, was delivered a victory on behalf of Redrow Homes, by an Inspectors Decision of 1st August 2012, in his appeal against a decision of the Borough Council of Wellingborough to refuse outline planning permission for the erection of up to 65 homes in Earls Barton, Northamptonshire. 
 
The two main issues pointed to by Inspector Jarratt were the acceptability of the proposal in the context of NPPF and Development Plan Policies; and community benefits and necessary infrastructure. 
 
Mr Dove QC’s argued that the Council’s out of date Plan was at the heart of the appeal. As a material consideration, decisions to grant planning permission must be made in accordance with paragraphs 17 and 14 NPPF. Since there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development and an objective to boost significantly the supply of housing, the Council’s AMR placed them at risk of unsuccessfully defending the appeal. The housing land supply was shown to be 2.14 years and as a result of its record of undersupply, the 20% buffer reduced its deliverable supply to 1.79 years – a shortfall in excess of 4200 dwellings.
 
The Inspector considered the Council’s failure to meet the deliverable housing supply to exceed the permitted “limited degree of conflict” with the NPPF. 
 
Whilst the proposed site was not considered the most sustainable Greenfield site, Mr Dove QC suggested there was no evidence to suggest there are more suitable alternative sites over next 5 years, with which the Inspector agreed. 
 
The appellants submitted a unilateral undertaking and quelled concerns over community benefit and infrastructure with a long list of contributions including education, public transport and sport pitches. Mr Dove QC satisfied the Inspector on issues of suitability of site, highway and the suggested undermining of the Neighbourhood Plan, to which the Inspector agreed is at too early a stage of preparation to attach too much weight. 
 
The Inspector attached substantial weight to housing land supply and gave some weight to the fact that there are no technical, environmental, landscape, visual impact or infrastructure issues in relation to the appeal site. This was balanced against the argument based on preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan by the Parish Council. Despite noting that had the Council been able to demonstrate a five-year supply the appeal would have been dismissed, based on Mr Dove QC’s presentation of the evidence, Inspector Jarratt had no choice but to allow the appeal and grant online planning permission.
 
Appeal Ref: APP/H2835/A/12/2168915 was successfully made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. 
 
Ian Dove QC is a member of the Planning Group at No5 Chambers. This set offers a national planning service and is home to “some of the finest barristers in the country”, according to Chambers UK 2012. Chambers explains that No5's domination of the Midlands’ circuit is founded upon “a specialist team that can act on any planning issue that comes its way” and Ian Dove QC is commended for being “outstanding” (Chambers UK).

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