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Ashley Bowes successfully resists housing appeal in crucial test of new Core Strategy

Ashley Bowes has successfully represented Charnwood Borough Council to resist an appeal for 70 units outside the settlement limits of Loughborough. The Inspector upheld the Council's decision to refuse planning permission on all grounds.

In a crucial early test of the Council's Core Strategy, which was adopted in November 2015, Ashley successfully argued that the Council could demonstrate a delivery 5.26 year's supply of housing sites as at 30 September 2016 baseline. The Inspector applied the guidance of Ouseley J in St Modwen Developments Ltd v SSCLG [2016] EWHC 968 (Admin.). In particular, the Inspector agreed with the Council's assumptions about build-out rates, number of sales outlets per site and the annual number sales per sales outlet.

The Inspector further agreed with the Council that the development would "substantially change the landscape character of the area from rural to urban", that the landscape was a "valued landscape" within paragraph 109, and that the development would have an adverse impact on visual amenity. Further, that the loss of 3.3ha of BMV land would be "at odds with the aims of relevant national and local policy, and falls on the negative side of the planning balance".

Finally, the Inspector agreed with the Council that irrespective of the five-year supply position, the presumption in favour of planning permission was not engaged because of the harm to the valued landscape (by operation of footnote 9 to paragraph 14 NPPF). In the event, the housing supply policies of the development plan were not rendered out of date by operation of paragraph 49 NPPF, due to a deliverable five-year supply, and accordingly the Inspector found the economic and social considerations weighing in favour of the scheme did not justify determining the application otherwise than in accordance with the recently adopted Core Strategy.

The decision, which concerned Land south of Nanpanton Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire (APP/X2410/W/3028159), can be viewed here.