Posts Categorized: Current thinking

Further examples of the easing of rural restraint policy






Local need policy inconsistent with NPPF

A new dwelling was allowed in a Devon village, an inspector deciding that there was no need for local need to be proven (DCS Number 400-010-243). The inspector accepted that the village did not have a defined development boundary, nor was it listed as a settlement within the core strategy. Core strategy policy stated that development would only be permitted outside the listed settlements where it could be delivered sustainably and also in response to a demonstrable local need. He ruled, however, that reference to a demonstrable local need in the policy was a more restrictive approach than the presumption in favour of sustainable development advocated at paragraph 14 of the NPPF. The policy was therefore not wholly consistent with the NPPF, he determined.

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Is it just us, or is this one something of a game-changer?






Here is the story: an Essex council granted permission in 2008 for greyhound kennels in countryside identified as a special landscape area (SLA). That permission was never implemented and a bungalow was built instead. Retrospective permission for the bungalow was denied at appeal in 2011. Permission was sought again last year and this time it was granted at appeal (DCS Number 400-010-072).

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The social aspect






As spatial planners we are very aware of the locational aspect of sustainability but in a recent case in rural Warwickshire the social aspect of sustainability was emphasised.

In  allowing a new house on the edge of a village (DCS Number 400-009-976), an inspector emphasised the social benefits that it would bring. The inspector acknowledged that the village had a limited bus service and, given its location within the countryside, it was inevitable that residents would revert to using the car. However, she considered the social benefits associated with the development to outweigh any potential harm caused by the additional traffic movements associated with one house. It would also help meet the council’s requirement for additional housing.

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The potential of rooftop schemes for solar gain and renewable energy generation






A scheme for a solar farm on high quality agricultural land in Devon (DCS Number 200-003-894) failed the sequential test, the inspector not being satisfied that brownfield opportunities including rooftop schemes had been properly looked at. She recognised that the NPPF and PPG on solar farms did not expressly refer to the need to undertake a sequential test but reasoned that it was self-evident that in requiring an assessment as to whether land of lower quality was available a review of the quality of the land which was available needed to be undertaken. Given the ministerial statement of March 2015 which set out a need for developers to provide a compelling justification for schemes involving high quality land she decided that she had no alternative but to dismiss the appeal.

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