Out-Law News 1 min. read

Pickles gives green light to two West Sussex schemes

Secretary of state (SoS) Eric Pickles has granted planning permission on appeal to two residential schemes in Handcross village, West Sussex, after concluding the local authority did not have a five year housing supply of land.

Developers Hallam Land Management and Hyde Estate had proposed two schemes of up to 90 homes and 75 homes respectively, both also including a 60 bed care home. They lodged appeals after Mid Sussex District Council refused the applications last year.

Pickles said in his decision notice that he agreed with a planning inspector's conclusions that the appeal should be allowed (41-page / 236KB PDF). He noted that the Council was not able to demonstrate a five year housing land supply and that the proposals were therefore subject to the National Planning Policy Framework's presumption in favour of sustainable development.

The SoS said that, although the schemes were contrary to policies in an emerging neighbourhood plan prepared by Slaugham Parish Council, he did not consider that plan to carry "great weight" in his determination of the appeal. He noted that an examiner had concluded the neighbourhood plan did not meet basic conditions and had recommended to the Council that it should not proceed to referendum.

"Overall there is not a substantial case that the housing proposed by the appeals would be unduly harmful to the infrastructure or character of the village, nor reason to consider that it could not take place alongside the housing proposals contained in the neighbourhood plan," Pickles said.

He said that any potential harm to the emerging neighbourhood plan would "not be of such weight as to significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits arising out of the supply of market and affordable housing".

"There is no reason why the land should not provide satisfactory forms of residential development which are compatible with the social, economic and environmental character of the existing village, and which would contribute to the shortfall of housing land in the District," Pickles said.

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