30 March 2015
The Secretary of State has allowed an appeal for a major housing scheme on the edge of Exeter, following expert planning evidence from WYG. The case, which bucks a recent trend of recovered appeals dismissals by the Secretary of State, is likely to be one of the last to be decided before the pre- election cut-off date of 30th March.
The scheme, for 430 homes and two care homes, was recovered because it involves proposals for residential development of over 150 units and would be on a site over five hectares that would significantly impact on the Government’s sustainable housing objectives to secure a better balance between housing demand and supply
The six-day public inquiry mainly focussed on East Devon District Council’s lack of a five-year housing supply as well as levels of viable of affordable housing provision. As the supply did not comply with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), this justified the release of the unallocated greenfield site.
The local authority had originally refused the application on traffic and affordable housing grounds. The council considered that the development would cause excessive queuing by traffic that would be considered to be ‘severe’ by the standards of the NPPF. It argued that 40 per cent affordable housing for the site, rather than the 25 per cent proposed by the developer, would be viable and in line with the adopted Local Plan policy.
In accordance with WYG evidence, the appeal decision considered that substantial weight should be given to the emerging Local Plan policy for affordable housing of 25 per cent. In addition, the Secretary of State considered the figure to be the maximum viable amount for the scheme, preferring the appellant’s viability case to that of the District Valuer.
The decision concluded that traffic arising from the development would not be ‘severe’, contrary to the opinion of the Highway Authority.
WYG Associate Director Robin Upton acted as both lead consultant instructing Counsel and as expert planning witness for appellant Millwood Homes. He said: “This decision is a welcome move away from a recent trend of recovered appeals dismissals. The scheme now has a viable, deliverable and immediately implementable planning permission which will provide much-needed homes in the area. ”
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You can read the appeal decision here (Opens in PDF)