19 April 2016
Image credit: IDPartnership
An appeal has been allowed, and outline planning permission granted, for 320 new homes on the edge of Ormesby near Middlesbrough, following work by WYG planners. Despite the site lying beyond the settlement boundary, the appeal was successful because Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council could not prove that it had a five-year housing supply, nor did it have an up-to-date Local Plan. Much of the Inquiry had focussed on arguments around economic activity rates and their influence on future housing need.
At the Public Inquiry, the Inspector found that the proposal would deliver a range of positive benefits, most notably a significant contribution to housing need, including affordable housing, and that any adverse impacts of the proposal would not outweigh these benefits.
The Council’s Objectively Assessed Need figure was 215 dwellings per annum. However, the developer’s Counsel countered that its figure of 355 dwellings was correct because it was based on more accurate economic activity forecasts. The Council had argued that the population of the borough was sufficient to meet the demand for jobs in the area. But the developer’s Counsel argued that population would need to be imported to meet that demand and, in turn, have their housing needs met. On this basis, the Inspector was persuaded that the developer’s Objectively Assessed Need figure was more realistic.
John Wyatt, Associate Director at Signet Planning, now part of the WYG group of companies, had worked on the proposal from before the pre-application stage. He subsequently secured an Officer’s recommendation for approval at planning committee stage but this was refused by Members.
He said: “This decision is significant because the issue of an older working population, which will become more relevant, and the prediction of economic activity rates and their influence on future housing need, were fully explored. We are pleased that the Inspector agreed with our more realistic economic activity rates rather than those produced by the Council’s expert witness. It is also pleasing that the Inspector concurred with our view that policies relevant to the supply of housing were out of date by virtue not only of an absence of a five-year housing supply, but also due to the age of the Local Plan.
You can read the appeal decision here.