Town and Country Planning

Secretary of State throws out unique development for new housing in the Forest of Dean despite substantive benefits being brought forward by the appellant.

4 January 2016 | Planning Policy Updates

The Secretary of State has snubbed a proposal to build 200 new homes in the Lydney despite the scheme being able to deliver a very unique and locally designed content of much needed housing and community facilities. The development would have provided a neighbourhood of selfbuild houses, a new community centre, new public open space and desperately needed affordable homes.

Lydney has historically had a problem in delivering new houses as many of the national house builders do not see this as a profitable area. However, the appeal proposal was advanced by local builders, all of whom had committed to deliver at least 50 houses each, including new affordable housing. The developer had also researched the opportunity for self-build houses on the site and discovered a pent-up demand for this type of development in the Forest and accordingly had included this as part of the application package. The Secretary of State overturned his Inspector?s decision to grant planning permission even though he recognised that in this case there was a presumption in favour of the development as the Council could not demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply. The Secretary of State recognised that both the Local Plans and the Neighbourhood Plans were out of date as they could not provide sufficient housing. He also confirmed that there would be very little harm to the adjoining landscape.

The refusal of this development comes after George Osborne?s pledge in the Autumns Statement to deliver, with government help, 400,000 affordable new homes by the end of the decade. Clearly the people of the Forest of Dean will need to wait a little longer to get access to a new home.

The Appellant is now looking at challenging the Secretary of State?s decision on the grounds that he has relied on the wrong policies. Clearly this will lead to further delays in the delivery of sustainable new homes in the Forest.

Notes to the Editor:

  • Contact details: Paul Fong or Ben read at Hunter Page Planning: 01242 230066
  • The application Ref. P1284/13/OUT, dated 22 August 2013, was refused by notice dated 22 January 2014
  • The development proposed is the delivery of up to 200 dwellings, including up to 20 serviced self-build plots and up to 37 retirement apartments, community building (up to 2,000 sq ft) comprising flexible A1/D2 ancillary space and new public open space.
  • Inspector Neil Pope BA (Hons) MRTPI recommended the proposal be granted planning permission on the 13 April 2015
  • The Secretary of States decision was not released until the 21 December 2015.
  • The appellants are now being advised by No.5 Chambers in Birmingham about a challenge to this decision.
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