Wed, 16 Jan 2013
In a letter dated 20th December 2012, the Inspector resolved to grant outline planning permission for the development. Prior to and during the inquiry a SoCG and s 106 agreement were submitted respectively; the former agreed that the Council did not have a 5 year housing land supply (HLS).
The main issues considered by the Inspector were whether the appeal site was in a sustainable location for housing, the effect of the development on the character and appearance of the area and if harm arose therefrom whether it would outweigh the Council’s inability to demonstrate a 5 year HLS.
The Inspector found the site to be relatively accessible and in a reasonably sustainable location. The Council’s submissions on remoteness to bus stops were unsuccessful. The submission that distances of 510m and 680m would deter public transport choices was dismissed, still falling within the 800m contained in the Highway Authority’s Policy (C6). The Inspector stated that while the distance of the site from local services, may necessitate the use of the car by residents, it must be seen in a wider context. Factors such as sharing school trips, and the potential for multi-purpose trips, undertaken to services within the Sub- Regional Centre, being an entirely plausible outcome, mitigating the remoteness of the site. Overall, when compared to other sites with extant planning permission, Iveshead Road was considered to fare well.
The Council submitted that the development’s impact on the character and appearance of the area would be of ‘high magnitude and major/moderate significance’. Having regard to the Council’s objections and the mitigating measures put forward by the Appellant, the Inspector found that the proposed development was contrary to CT/1 and the CBLP. However the Inspector held that the Council’s HLS standing at less than 2 years, in addition to incurring a buffer of 20% for persistent undersupply; the adoption of it’s Core Strategy being unforeseeable anytime before 2014; and the considerable shortfall of affordable homes in the area posed the risk of worsening the shortfall in delivery and failed to respond to a key objective of the NPPF: to significantly boost the supply of housing.
Therefore whilst the proposal was deemed to cause harm to the character of the countryside and in the immediate context necessitate a modest measure of car-borne travel to access local services, these factors were found not to significantly or demonstrably outweigh the clear benefits of providing more strategically sustainable new market and affordable homes in Shepshed. The Inspector therefore, on this basis, and in accordance with para 14 NPPF, granted planning permission.