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Inspector approves 107 Sussex homes

A Planning Inspector has granted planning permission on appeal for a housing scheme on a former horticultural site in Barnham, Bognor Regis.05 Nov 2013

The proposals to build 107 homes on the site were refused by Arun District Council last year on grounds including that they were located outside defined built up areas and that they represented a "significant encroachment" into the countryside on a site "not well related to the existing settlement".

"The area in which the application proposes development is a semi-rural location surrounded by open countryside," said the Council in its decision notice. It said that the scale and location of the proposals would result in a "significant adverse impact on the visual amenities of the location and character of the area" contrary to local policy.

The Inspector acknowledged in her decision letter (11-page / 143KB PDF) that the proposed scheme was contrary to local policies seeking to concentrate new development within the defined development boundaries and only to allow development in the countryside outside such boundaries in a limited number of circumstances which did not apply to the proposals.

However she noted that the Council was unable to demonstrate a 5-year housing land supply as required by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Under the NPPF, its housing policies should therefore be considered out of date and the presumption in favour of sustainable development would apply.

The Inspector concluded that the scheme would provide a benefit in terms of its contribution to the housing supply in the District, including 30% affordable housing, as well as "some improvement" in local surface water drainage and the potential to enable further investment in the horticultural business. 

"I have found that the encroachment into the countryside would not result in material harm to the character and appearance of the rural area. Thus I conclude that the adverse impact of approving the scheme outside the development boundary would not be significantly and demonstrably outweighed by the benefits," she said.