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When the Liverpool approach "should be used" to calculate 5 year housing land supply

Outline Planning Permission refused for two sites at Colden Common, Hampshire

David Lintott appeared for Winchester City Council and Christopher Boyle Q.C. appeared for the Appellant, Bargate Homes, in these s.78 planning appeals relating to proposed housing development at two sites in Colden Common, Hampshire (APP/L1765/W/16/3141664 and APP/L1765/W/16/3141667).

On the main issues G D Jones BSc(Hons) DipTP DMS MRTPI, an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government held that:

(1) The Council's Liverpool approach should be used when calculating five year housing land supply, spreading any housing delivery shortfall across the plan period rather than concentrating it into the relevant five year period. This was because the Council's housing delivery strategy embodied in the Local Plan Part 1 and the Local Plan Part 2 relied on three large strategic sites to deliver around two-thirds of the overall housing requirement over the plan period. Such strategic sites tend to take longer to commence and deliver due to their relative complexities - such as those associated with getting planning permission and other development consents, land ownership issues and infrastructure delivery - compared to smaller sites, such that they are more likely to deliver later into the plan period. Consequently, the Sedgefield method was not currently appropriate in the District, whereas the Council's approach of anticipating a 'curved' rather than a 'straight-line' delivery and spreading the shortfall over the plan period was appropriate. (Paragraph [16])

(2) A 5% buffer should be adopted to calculating five year housing land supply. The Council's approach to taking a longer term view from 2001 was appropriate in order to offer a better overall perspective of delivery having regard to the potential for peaks and troughs in delivery that might be caused by factors such as market conditions. In the majority of those 15 years the 'requirement' was either met or exceeded. For those years since 2011 when the trajectory had been produced delivery should be measured against the trajectory rather than any average over the plan period. Taking an overall view of the 15 year period, there was not currently a record of persistent under delivery of housing in the terms of the Framework such that a 5% buffer only should be applied to ensure choice and competition in the market for land. (paragraphs [19], [24]-[26])

(3) Adopting the Liverpool approach and a 5% buffer resulted in a housing requirement well below both the Council's and the appellant's assessments of supply over this period. Therefore, on either of the parties' predictions of housing delivery the Council could demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing sites in the terms of para 49 of the Framework. (paragraph [28])

(4) Both appeals sites were located close to but outside the settlement boundary of Cold Colden, were within the countryside, and neither fell within sites and areas identified for development in the wider development plan, including the LPP2. As the appeals proposals did not involve any of the identified exception development they both conflicted with Policy MTRA4. Furthermore, although either or both of the appeals developments would bring forward housing at Colden Common in reasonably accessible locations with good access to local services, in the context of the local policy priority for new housing to be within the settlement boundary and given the housing allocations within the LPP2, neither scheme fulfilled the criteria in Policy MTRA2 because neither was needed, would meet a local community aspiration or had clear community support. Both appeals proposals therefore would be at odds with and, thereby, harmful to the Council's Spatial Strategy, conflicting with Policies MTRA2 and MTRA4 of the LPP1. (paragraphs [32]-[37])

(5) Although the effects of both proposals would be fairly contained, the identified harm to the area's character and appearance carried reasonably significant weight against each appeal proposal. Consequently, while matters of detailed design, layout and scale of the built form could be carefully controlled at the reserved matters stage, the introduction of development of the extent and type proposed to the appeals sites would be at odds with LPP1 Policy CP13 (High Quality Design) particularly as neither would provide overall enhancement to both the natural and built environment. (paragraph [50])

(6) On the planning balance - in the context of a genuinely plan-led planning system and given the provisions set out in the LPP2 - the development plan, including the settlement boundary for Colden Common, was not absent, silent nor were relevant policies out of date, and the identified harm and development plan policy conflict were given very considerable combined weight against each of the appeals proposals. Overall any matters weighing in favour of the development proposals, including the contribution offered to the supply of affordable housing, did not collectively outbalance the identified harm and planning policy conflict in either case. Neither of the appeals proposals was, therefore, sustainable development in the terms of the Framework. (paragraphs [54] and [58])

Accordingly both appeals were dismissed.

Click here for a copy of the Inspector's decision.

David Lintott acted for the Local Planning Authority in the Inquiry. Cornerstone Barristers regularly acts for both Developers and Local Planning Authorities in a wide range of planning matters. For more information please contact 020 7242 4986 or email clerks@cornerstonebarristers.com.