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Land To The North Of Melton Drive, Storrington, Pulborough, West Sussex

Appeal Ref: APP/Z3825/A/13/2202943

David Lintott successfully appeared for Horsham District Council in this s.78 planning appeal. Mary Cook appeared for the Appellant. The case contains a useful analysis of the way in which applications affecting the setting of a listed building should be considered post Barnwell Manor Wind Energy Ltd v E Northants DC [2014] EWCA Civ 137 and North Norfolk DC v SSCLG & Mack [2014] EWHC 279 (Admin), the need for good design in planning and what constitutes sustainable development.

The appeal was made by Wates Developments against the decision of Horsham District Council refusing to grant outline permission for redevelopment comprising the erection of up to 102 dwellings, including 40% affordable housing with associated access.

Alan Woolnough BA(Hons) DMS MRTPI, an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, concluded that:

(1) Whilst the development proposed would cause "less than substantial harm" to the setting of the Grade II* Listed West Wantley Farmhouse in terms of paragraph 134 of the NPPF, the level of harm would nonetheless be significant and irreversible. Accordingly the proposal was contrary to Policy and the NPPF. (see [34]-[56])

(2) In any event, the appeal scheme would not respect the role the appeal site and its immediate environment play in performing a transitional function between village and countryside, moving northward from the low density, sylvan environment of Melton Drive to a resolutely rural landscape with little built form and an abundance of open fields, copses of trees and native hedgerows. There was conflict between the appeal scheme and paragraph 64 of the NPPF which emphasises the importance of good design. The proposal would cause substantial harm to the character and appearance of the appeal site and surrounding area contrary to policy and the NPPF (paragraphs [63]-[68]).

(3) The conclusions in (1) and (2) meant that the development would not be sustainable, even when weighed against the economic and social benefits of housing and the role the site would perform in minimising air pollution (paragraph [89]). As such, the presumption in favour of sustainable development in paragraph 14 did not apply, as confirmed by the judgment in William Davis Ltd & Jelson Ltd v SSCLG & Barwood Homes Ltd [2013] EWHC (Admin) (paragraph [97]). When all material considerations were weighed in the planning balance the adverse affects of granting permission significantly and demonstrably outweighed the benefits, which benefits included the degree to which this scheme would address the significant shortfall in housing supply in the area (to which very substantial weight had to be given) see paragraph [98].

Click here to see the full decision.