243 new houses for Glossop after HPBC loses two planning appeals

The Planning Inspectorate has overturned two refusals for planning permission by High Peak Borough Council after appeals by public enquiry on behalf of Gladman Developments and Loxley Developments. Gladman Developments had been refused permission to build up to 150 dwellings,  including 'affordable housing', highway works, public open space and associated works on land at North Road in Glossop. Loxley Developments had been refused permission to build up to 93 houses on land at Dinting Lane and Shaw Lane. In decisions published today planning inspector Brendan Lyons granted permission for both developments, representing 243 new dwellings for Glossop. HPBC escaped a further public inquiry into its decision not to allow over 100 houses to be built at Charlestown Works by approving a revised submission for up to 100 houses without any consideration by the planning committee.

30% of both developments will be affordable housing and the provision for archaeological studies of the site includes a requirement  for "publication and dissemination of the analysis and records of the site investigation". In both cases the inspector said that because of the uncertainty of the final form of the new local plan, little weight could be attached to the emerging draft. 

The main issue at North Road was "whether, in the absence of a five year supply of deliverable housing land, the proposal would amount to a sustainable form of development in accordance with national and local policy, having particular regard to the effect on biodiversity". HPBC said it wouldn't, but the inspector said that because the council could not demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing sites, the appeal proposal must be assessed in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development. He said that HPBC had earlier calculated that it needed  416-455 new dwellings per year, but had raised to figure to 420-470 by the end of the inquiry. Either way the council could not demonstrate a five year supply. On affordable housing he said "The most recent Housing Needs Survey of 2007 showed a net need of 317 affordable dwellings per year in the area of the borough outside the National Park, of which 209 were in Glossop. This annual need does not appear to have been met in any subsequent year,resulting in an increased backlog of cumulative need." Overall he said that because the council didn't have a 5 year supply of housing land and hadn't been able to provide sufficient affordable housing in the past

The main issue considered at the Dinting Road enquiry was "whether, if there is less than a five year supply of deliverable housing land, the proposal would amount to a sustainable form of development in accordance with national and local policy, having particular regard to:
• The effect on the countryside character of the area;
• The location and accessibility of the site".

The planning inspector agreed with the developers that HPBC's housing supply polices were out of date and said "in view of current uncertainty around the final form of the new Local Plan, not least due to outstanding objections, little weight can be given to the emerging draft at this stage. However, it seems clear that the likely housing requirement of the new plan will require the allocation of land outside current built-up area boundaries. "

The inspector said that the site had "an ‘urban fringe’ character rather than one of truly rural open countryside" and that although the development would be detrimental  He disagreed with HPBC that bat surveys should have been conducted by the developers,  on the premise that the retention of mature trees and the provision of the buffer zone along the eastern boundary would ensure sufficient protection for bats using the fringes of the site. The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, as adviser to the Council, accepted that in those circumstances a detailed bat survey was not required.  The inspector decided that"any environmental harm remaining after mitigation would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of development".

Responding to a request for comment from Glossop Gazette on the North Road site HPBC said "Councillor Godfrey Claff, executive member for regeneration at High Peak Borough Council, said: “We are disappointed by the result. The Council put up a strong case to defend the decision of the development control committee.”

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