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Inspector approves 140-home development on green belt land in Sedgley

A planning inspector has given planning permission for a mixed-use scheme at the previously developed Baggeridge Brickworks site in Sedgley, saying the scheme was an "exception to the general rule of inappropriate development" on green belt land.10 Dec 2012

The inspector overturned South Staffordshire Council's decision to refuse permission for the development.

The proposed development, which will be delivered by David Wilson Homes, will comprise 140 new homes as well as a craft village, a nursing home and major open space. The Council had rejected the plans, saying the site was in an "unsustainable location" and that the scale of the development "could compromise the regeneration and urban renaissance of the Black Country".

The development site had been an allocated Major Developed Site in the West Midlands green belt in the Council's Local Plan since 1996. The inspector said in his decision report that the development would not have a greater impact on the openness of the green belt land than the existing buildings as the footprint of the proposed new buildings would be less than that of the existing buildings and the new buildings would also be lower. The development would therefore not be contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The inspector said that the development would provide "substantial benefits" over the present situation and the likely future one for the site, which he said would be "most unlikely to be delivered other than with development containing housing". He said that there would be "green belt benefits" in the re-use of previously developed land and in the possibility of saving green belt greenfield land elsewhere from needing to be developed.

The inspector also said that the development would further the "three dimensions of sustainability" under the NPPF. This includes the new employment opportunities and increased opportunities for community and recreational uses of land that the development will provide, as well as its "substantial benefits" to the character and appearance of the green belt.