Refusing to grant planning permission on appeal for developer Satnam Millenium Ltd's plans, the Inspector said in her report (12-page / 152KB PDF) that the development would not be sustainable and would therefore not accord with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Satnam Millenium had made an appeal against Warrington Borough Council's failure to determine its planning application within the prescribed period. The Council said that, if it had determined the application, it would have been refused.
The Inspector said that the proposed development, on a site comprising 6.4 hectare of undeveloped greenfield land, would result in the loss of some of the best and most versatile agricultural land. She added that the scheme would not be within the inner area of Warrington where it would aid regeneration and better serve the sustainability principles of the NPPF.
The Inspector also said that most local amenities were located at distances above preferred maximum distances for walking and were "dispersed and so do not encourage joint trips". She said that, in the absence of provision for local facilities, shops and businesses, the development would "not ensure an integrated approach to the location of housing, economic uses and community facilities" envisaged by the NPPF and would "not serve to promote a healthy community".
The Inspector noted that the Council had more than a five year housing land supply as required under the NPPF. Although she acknowledged that there was "scant evidence" that the release of the land would undermine the development of brownfield sites, she said that the development of a greenfield site was not required to make up the Council's land supply. "The development would prejudice the Council's current approach to the release of housing land," she said.
The Inspector concluded that, although the scheme's provision of 50% affordable housing would be a "substantial benefit" and that it would deliver a "significant amount" of open market housing, those benefits were not outweighed by the fact that the development was not sustainable and would prejudice housing land release.