Out-Law News 1 min. read

Pickles approves 500-home Lancashire scheme

Secretary of State (SoS) Eric Pickles has granted outline planning permission on appeal for a major housing scheme after finding that Ribble Valley Borough Council could not demonstrate a five year housing land supply. 

The Barrow Lands Company had lodged an appeal with the SoS in December 2012 after the Council had failed to issue a decision on its proposals to build 504 new homes on a 18 hectare site located to the south-west of Barrow.

Pickles said in his decision letter (79-page / 612KB PDF) that he agreed with a planning inspector's conclusions that the Council's adopted policies were out of date and that its draft Core Strategy could only be given limited weight.

He said that the Council's lack of a five year housing land supply in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework weighed "significantly in favour" of the appeal and that the scheme would provide a "substantial amount of much needed market and affordable housing".

The SoS agreed with the Inspector that there was "limited conflict" between the proposals and the draft Core Strategy policies on character and appearance of the area. However, he said that this fell "far short of suggesting that the development would be unacceptably harmful" and that there would be "little discernible landscape impact from more than around two kilometres".

In relation to concerns that the scheme would cause increased safety risks at two pedestrian level crossings over a railway to the west of the site, the SoS said he agreed with the inspector that mitigation measures proposed by the developer, including a £10,000 contribution towards footpath improvements, were "adequate and reasonable".

"Overall the Secretary of State concludes that the planning balance falls strongly in favour of the proposal and that it accords with the policies in the Framework including the presumption in favour of sustainable development," the decision letter said.

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