Out-Law News 1 min. read

Pickles blocks 211 Winslow homes over conflict with neighbourhood plan

Secretary of state for communities and local government (SoS) Eric Pickles has refused to grant planning permission to a residential development in Winslow because the scheme is not compliant with policies in a neighbourhood plan for the area (51-page / 632KB PDF). 

Gladman Developments had lodged an appeal after Aylesbury of Vale District Council's rejected its outline application last year. Pickles rejected the appeal despite a planning inspector's recommendation to allow the appeal and grant planning permission.

Pickles acknowledged in his decision letter that the Council cannot demonstrate a five year housing land supply and that the relevant local policies on housing, including those in the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan, are out of date. He said that the appeal should therefore be determined in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework's (NPPF) presumption in favour of sustainable development.

Pickles agreed with the inspector that the proposal would provide sustainable homes that would have economic social and environmental benefits and that its contribution to housing supply attracted "substantial weight".

However, the SoS said that the scheme conflicted with policies in the recently adopted neighbourhood plan which designate a settlement boundary to direct future housing. He said he placed very substantial negative weight on that conflict and that, together with other adverse impacts, this would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits the scheme would provide.

The SoS said that granting planning permission for the proposals would "undermine the spatial strategy upon which the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan is based".

Pickles noted that, although the neighbourhood plan is currently subject to a judicial review challenge, there was "no need" to delay his appeal decision. He said that full weight should be attributed to the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan as part of the statutory development plan.

The NPPF states that "outside the strategic elements of the Local Plan, neighbourhood plans will be able to shape and direct sustainable development". The SoS said that he "regards this purpose as more than a statement of aspiration".

He said that neighbourhood plans, once made part of the development plan, should be upheld as an effective means to shape and direct development in the neighbourhood plan area in question.

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