Farmers use NPPF to quash resi refusal

Farm owners in Cheshire have successfully overturned refusal for planning permission to build houses on their land after a public inquiry.

Planning inspector, Andrew Jeyes, and communities secretary, Eric Pickles, backed plans to develop 200 homes on 42 acres of agricultural land off Sandbach Road, Congleton.

Loachbrook Farm is owned by the Dale family, who appealed against planning refusal last year, arguing that Cheshire East Council's deficient housing land supply was against the requirement set out in the National Planning Policy Framework to maintain a five-year supply of housing land.

The planning application was lodged by the Dales' planning advisor, Hourigan Connolly, on 21 February 2011 for up to 200 dwellings including a range of house types and up to 63 affordable homes. The application also included open space, recreation and play areas, community facilities and associated infrastructure.

The application was considered by the strategic planning board of Cheshire East Council on 27 July 2011 and refused. The planning committee said it was an unsuitable place for development, posing a potential threat to the landscape, and would be an unsustainable development, with more suitable sites available.

In allowing the appeal the inspector considered that the proposals represented sustainable development and would deliver affordable housing in an area where there is a significant need and where delivery of such housing has in the past has not met the identified need.

The site, 2km outside Congleton town centre, now has outline planning permission and will be marketed for sale to house builders.

Marc Hourigan, director of Hourigan Connolly, said: "It was clear to us from the outset that the council did not have an adequate supply of housing land as required by Government policy. Furthermore, it is clear that Congleton is a suitable location for further housing development, that the site is sustainably located and could deliver the sort of high quality development the government expects. Needless to say we are delighted with the decision."

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