Land on East Side of Green Road, Woolpit, Suffolk (APP/W3520/W/18/3194926)
Section 78 appeal (inquiry) defending Mid Suffolk DC’s refusal of planning permission (an overturn) for 49 dwellings (including 17 affordable dwellings) on the edge of the village of Woolpit in Mid-Suffolk. The inquiry heard full evidence on highway and pedestrian safety, and the impact of off-site highway improvement works on the setting of a group of Grade II listed late medieval dwellings, and a round table discussion on housing land supply matters. The appeal was allowed under the tilted balance, with the Inspector finding that appropriate safety improvement works would mitigate any highway dangers, and that there was no harm to the settings of the off-site listed buildings by those works.
On housing land supply matters, the new Glossary definition of deliverable in NPPF 2018 (published the week before the inquiry) required the Council to demonstrate clear evidence of deliverability for the outline permissions making up approximately half its housing land supply, and also resulted in scrutiny of a large proportion of small sites which made up the rest of the supply.
The conclusion that a 5yr HLS could not be demonstrated was informed in part by the Inspector’s judgment, applying the new test of deliverability, that only sites within the base date of the AMR could be included in the HLS and that no subsequent evidence could be relied upon, even if supporting deliverability as at the base date (para. 67). That judgment has been shown to be overly strict given the judgments of subsequent Inspectors such as at Hedgehog Lane (APP/R3650/W/16/3165974, on 10 Jan 2019, at para. 39), and the Hanging Lane decision (APP/P4605/W/18/3192918, on 24 July 2019, SoS at paras. 20 – 21, agreeing with his Inspector at IR 14.48).