Monthly Archives: June 2016

Back in the real world



The following snippet from an appeal against the refusal of outline permission for a bungalow in rural Hampshire brought a wry smile (DCS Number 400-011-996). The inspector recorded that at the time when the appeal was submitted there was no dispute between the parties that the proposal would require a contribution towards affordable housing in accordance with the requirements of saved core strategy policies. However, the PPG had since been amended to state that contributions should not be sought from developments of 10 units or less, or 5 in designated rural areas, which included the case before her. She continued:

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No kidding, Sherlock



The parties at appeals relating to residential development will often press to argue about whether or not the planning authority can show a five-year housing land supply. In relation to an appeal for up to 61 dwellings in Derbyshire the inspector pointed out, however, that it was not for him to carry out a forensic analysis of the housing statistics (DCS Number 200-005-175). In support of this stance he referred to the Planning Practice Guidance which advises that up-to-date housing requirements and the deliverability of sites to meet a five-year supply will have been thoroughly considered and examined prior to adoption, in a way that cannot be replicated in the course of determining individual applications or appeals where only the appellant’s evidence is likely to be presented to contest an authority’s position. Similarly, the Court of Appeal in St Albans City and District Council v Hunston Properties Ltd and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, [2013]  found that, “It is not for an inspector on a Section 78 appeal to seek to carry out some sort of local plan process as part of determining an appeal, so as to arrive at a constrained housing requirement figure. An inspector in that situation is not in a position to carry out such an exercise in a proper fashion, since it is impossible for any rounded assessment similar to the local plan process to be done. That process is an elaborate one involving many parties who are not present at or involved in the Section 78 appeal.”

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Solar sequential search steer



Those involved in the field of solar energy will be familiar with paragraph 112 of the NPPF which states that “where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, local planning authorities should seek to use areas of poorer quality land in preference to that of a higher quality.” An inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of a solar farm on farmland in Berkshire recognised that an alternative site search report is therefore implicitly required (DCS Number 400-011-885). He acknowledged that there is no detailed guidance on how such a search should be undertaken or, specifically, what area should be covered.

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The pendulum swings



The oscillations of the planning system in accord with contemporary political thinking are always fascinating to observe.

It seems like only yesterday that every last back garden was being sized up for its potential for residential development, residential curtilages being identified as brownfield land and accordingly suitable to make a contribution towards the nation’s housing land supply. In fact, it was in March 2012 that the pendulum reached the limit of its arc, garden grabbing having got out of hand, and the NPPF defining previously developed land as excluding land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens.

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Glastonbury – the fun stops here



We make no claim to be down with the kids here on the Blog but we are aware of the doleful refrain that it is now only the middle-aged and middle class who can afford tickets for the Glastonbury Festival. That being the case, those of a conservative outlook on their way to the festival next week will no doubt be nodding their approbation of a recent appeal decision concerning a mural which has been painted on the gable end of a listed building in the town (DCS Number 400-011-784).

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On the definition of scale and layout



The following case provides useful guidance in respect of the definition of scale and layout in relation to reserved matters applications.

A Somerset council had costs awarded against it at appeal after refusing a reserved matters application on the basis that the mix of houses proposed, in terms of sizes and number of bedrooms, failed to reflect the identified local need within the sub-market housing area or the district as a whole (DCS Number 400-011-800).

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Ready for takeoff



The runway expansion contest between Heathrow and Gatwick pales into insignificance beside what a Cambridgeshire planning authority has been dealing with recently. An inspector has quashed an enforcement notice which required the use of a garden shed at a house as a flight simulator facility to cease, deciding that no material change of use had occurred (DCS Number 200-005-093).

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