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The Secretary of State confirms that Horsham District Council is now able to demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply

David Lintott appeared for Horsham District Council and Mark Lowe QC for the Appellant, Stonegate Nurseries, in this s.78 planning appeal called in by the Secretary of State in respect of the Council's decision to refuse an application for planning permission to provide 72 houses at Land at Sandgate Nurseries, West End Lane, Henfield, Appeal Ref: APP/Z3825/W/14/3001703.

On the main issues (at paragraphs 12-24) the Secretary of State upheld the reasoning of his inspector and agreed that:

(1) Substantial weight should be afforded to the process and findings of the Examining Inspector of the District Framework; that the present situation does not indicate the raising of the buffer to 20% is necessary or that the Council are unable to demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply. Although there is some loss of supply through the removal of the Henfield Neighbourhood Plan, policies for the supply of housing are not out of date to the extent that paragraph 14 of the Framework is engaged and subsequent development plan documents are capable of addressing changes resulting to the housing supply requirements.

(2) Policy 4 of the Horsham District Planning Framework should be taken at face value and that it sets out how development around the edges of existing settlements is to be managed, as required under part 6 of Policy 2. As the site is not allocated in the development plan the proposal is contrary to both District Framework Policy 4 on settlement expansion and Policy 26 on countryside protection.

(3) The development would be contrary to District Policy Framework Policies 25, 32 and 33 on the quality of the development and its effect on the landscape, the aims of the NPPF regarding high quality design would not be furthered.

(4) The appeal site was within the setting of a listed building (Camellia Cottage) to the significance of which the development proposed would cause "less then substantial harm" but that considerable importance should be attached to that harm in the planning balance.

On the planning balance the Secretary of State agreed with his inspector that there were insufficient material considerations that indicate the appeal should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan. Accordingly the appeal was dismissed.

Click here for a copy of the decision.