26-home scheme on AONB land is refused by planning inspector
PUBLISHED: 16:32 19 January 2016
The benefits of a proposed 26-home development in Newton Poppleford did not reach the 'high bar' required to warrant building on the village's protected countryside, a government inspector has ruled.
Plans for the 3.4-acre site adjoining Little Orchard would have seen around 12 two- and three-bedroom houses and 14 four- and five-bedroom properties constructed.
But in an appeal decision, a planning inspector found that the plot to the south of the village was unsuitable for new housing - and the scheme should be refused.
In 2013, the applicant, Mr David White, initially applied to build up to 46 homes on a larger, 6.1-acre plot.
The proposals for the two-field site, which sits on land designated in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), were refused by East Devon District Council (EDDC) - and then by the Planning Inspectorate following an appeal.
Mr White submitted a revised application for up to 26 homes in September 2014, which would have seen only the site’s northern field developed.
However, EDDC also rejected those plans.
The decision was appealed and a different government official was appointed to make a final ruling.
In his decision report, published on December 23, planning inspector Jon Hockley said the appeal centred on whether the site was suitable for housing. He said positive aspects of the scheme were that it would generate economic and social benefits through the construction of the new houses.
And the proposed 10 ‘affordable’ homes, Mr Hockley said, would be a real benefit to the village, which suffers from a lack of such properties.
But he said national planning policy is clear that major developments can only take place on AONB land in ‘exceptional circumstances’ and where it can be demonstrated that they are in the public interest.
In conclusion, the inspector said: “I do not consider that the benefits of the scheme would reach the high bar required to constitute exceptional circumstances.”