Out-Law News 1 min. read

Pickles allows developer's appeal to build 385 homes in North East Lincolnshire

Secretary of State (SoS) for communities Eric Pickles has allowed agricultural contractor S&M Hewson's (Hewson) appeal against North East Lincolnshire Council's decision to refuse planning permission for a 385-home development in Grimsby, after the Council withdrew all eight of its reasons for refusal.

Hewson applied to the Council in April 2013 for planning permission for a 26.3 hectare residential development of up to 385 homes on arable land. Outline permission was sought for 339 homes with access roads, a primary school, a community building and public spaces and full planning permission was requested for a first phase including 46 homes.

The Council decided in August 2013 to refuse permission for the development. Among the Council's reasons for refusal were: the potential impact of the proposals on the character of the local area; traffic and highway concerns; reservations over the proposed inclusion of a primary school on site; and a lack of provision of on-site affordable housing.

The contractor appealed against the decision and the Council withdrew all of its objections to the scheme before the conclusion of a planning inspector's inquiry into the appeal.

The Council confirmed to the inspector that it agreed that the lack of an identifiable five year land supply outweighed concerns about the scheme's impact on the character of the local area. The Council's decision not to contest the appeal on local character grounds followed the SoS's decision in November (51-page / 335 KB PDF) to approve plans for a 400-home development on a neighbouring site.

Hewson's provision of further information and agreement to provide financial contributions towards highway and transport works and education overcame the Council's objections relating to transport and the proposed primary school. The contractor also agreed to allocate 20% of homes on the site as affordable housing, overcoming the Council's objections to the original plans for off-site provision.

The withdrawal of the Council's objections meant that those reasons did not require consideration by the SoS.

In his decision letter (31-page / 223 KB PDF) relating to the appeal, the SoS said he considered "that the housing policies in the development plan are out of date, the proposal would provide a substantial amount of much-needed market and affordable housing and the lack of a five year housing land supply weighs significantly in favour of the appeal."

"The transport impacts would be acceptable and the development would be sustainable in all other respects", continued the SoS. "Overall, the SoS concludes that the proposal accords with policies in the [National Planning Policy] Framework including the presumption in favour of sustainable development."

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