Tue, 27 Mar 2012
Appeal Ref: APP/Q4625/A/11/2157515 was successfully made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for development overturned at appeal
Jeremy Cahill QC of No5 Chambers has secured victory for his client, developer Persimmon Homes, in an appeal against Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, which had previously refused to grant outline planning permission for a development of up to 125 dwellings on land at Moat House Farm, Elmdon Road, Marston Green, Solihull.
Mr Cahill QC, who was instructed by Tony Bateman of Pegasus Planning Group in Sutton Coldfield, submitted a number of arguments, including that planning permission should be granted given that Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council could not demonstrate an up-to-date 5-year supply of deliverable housing.
The Inquiry upheld this line, pointing out that the Government’s Ministerial Statement ‘Planning for Growth’ expects local planning authorities to allow development and growth wherever possible.
The inspector, Jessica Graham, determined that there was “a significant shortfall in deliverable housing land supply”. The Council was therefore bound to consider planning applications favourably if a proposal centred on a site that was suitable for housing, the development made effective and efficient use of the land and achieved a good mix of housing. It had previously been acknowledged by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council that the Persimmon Homes Ltd proposal met all those conditions and the Inquiry agreed.
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council had raised concerns that in excess of 50% of the affordable dwellings provided on the development would be close to the West Coast mainline railway and be blighted by the noise and disturbance a high volume of rail traffic might generate. In addition, it was suggested that none of these homes would enjoy the views afforded to those dwellings built on the site’s eastern boundary. Ms Graham, however, accepted Persimmon Homes Ltd’s argument that the affordable dwellings would be built in a number of different locations around the site and not be grouped in less desirable spots. It was also pointed out by the Inspector that the designs of the homes in no way made clear which were affordable dwellings and which were available on the open market.
The inspector did feel that there was a need for a new GP surgery in Marston Green to cope with new patients as the existing resource was already stretched. Nonetheless, she believed that this issue was not appropriate grounds for the Inquiry to refuse planning permission. There was local concern too about the impact of the new development on traffic, parking and public transport services, but the inspector was satisfied that a transport assessment had demonstrated there was capacity in the road network and her view was substantiated by the Highway Authority.
Jessica Graham allowed the appeal and granted planning permission for the construction of the development by Persimmon Homes Ltd which she concluded would “accord with … the character or appearance of the surrounding area and …preserve the attractive qualities of its environment”.
Appeal Ref: APP/Q4625/A/11/2157515 was successfully made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Persimmon Homes Ltd’s proposed development is for up to 125 dwellings (including affordable housing) on land known as Moat House Farm at Elmdon Road, Marston Green with associated open space and infrastructure. The developer will financially contribute towards education facilities and play space.
Jeremy Cahill QC is head 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 2011. 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 that Jeremy Cahill QC has “a huge following thanks to his advocacy skills and brilliant understanding of the planning system”.