Green Belt harm in York outweighed by very special circumstances

23 Oct 2019

Planning and Environment

An Inspector has granted full planning permission for 266 dwellings on open land at Boroughbridge Road, York, within the general extent of the York Green Belt, allowing an appeal by Miller Homes against the non-determination of its application to City of York Council.

In a decision letter dated 23 October 2019 the Inspector, Yvonne Wright, concluded that although there was ‘a considerable loss of openness’ by developing farmland and former playing fields for a housing estate, the site (within the general extent of the York Green Belt but which still has no detailed inner boundary after 50 years) did not contribute to Green Belt purposes (a view also shared by City of York Council in its emerging local plan) and the Green Belt and other harm was outweighed by the benefits of contributing to reduction of the Council’s 5YHLS shortfall, providing affordable housing and making beneficial use of a partially unused area of land, such that very special circumstances existed. The City of York Council did not resist the grant of planning permission, although interested parties (including the various parish councils) did so.

In her decision the Inspector dealt with several key issues including the weight to be given to the WMS on housing need as a very special circumstance, the weight to be given to the adopted neighbourhood plan and the emerging local plan, arguments about prematurity, and the lack of necessity for a traveller site contribution. Michael Bedford QC acted for Miller Homes, instructed by Jason Tait of Planning Prospects.

A full copy of the decision letter can be viewed here.