New decision clarifies meaning of ‘valued landscapes’ under new NPPF

28 Mar 2019

Last summer, the NPPF was re-issued. Amongst the changes, was a revised wording to ‘valued landscapes’. Paragraph 170 NPPF provides:

Planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by

a) protecting and enhancing valued landscapes, sites of biodiversity or geological value and soils (in a manner commensurate with their statutory status or identified quality in the development plan)“.

In a Decision issued yesterday, Inspector Mellor resolved some confusion since the publication of the new NPPF and found that:

(a) Valued landscapes are not limited to those with a statutory designation or a local designation in the development plan (para.21)

(b) It was not the Government’s intention that LPAs should revive the old sweeping designations, like Special Landscape Areas (para.22-23)

(c) Inclusion in an AONB Management Plan (albeit outside the AONB itself) and the promotion of the landscape for inclusion within the AONB was relevant evidence to assessing whether the landscape was ‘valued’ (para.24)

The Inspector accepted the Council’s evidence to find the harm to the character and appearance of the area (which amounted to a ‘valued landscape’) was significant and adverse. He found that harm, coupled with the less than substantial harm to a listed building, significantly and demonstrably outweighed the benefits of 98 new homes, notwithstanding a land supply shortfall (at 4.45 years).

Ashley Bowes acted successfully for Braintree District Council.