Inspector sides with Metacre over housing appeal

Developer Metacre has overturned a decision by Wyre Borough Council to refuse plans for a 93-home rural development near the village of Great Eccleston in Lancashire.

Metacre successfully appealed the rejection of the scheme in May 2017, which included 93 homes and an 8,000 sq ft single storey building for community use, and associated parking and landscaping.

The project has been given the green light by a Government planning inspector despite concerns that the residential scheme could lead to a strain on the local road network near the village.

Although the application was recommended for approval by council planners, the planning committee refused it on the grounds of traffic and highways, and that the scheme was located outside the settlement boundary and would have a visual impact on the open countryside. A local action group opposed the plan and presented its own evidence to the inquiry, in particular in relation to highways concerns.

In her summary of the decision planning inspector Karen Ridge concluded said: “I have concluded that there are no highway reasons which would justify withholding planning permission. I am satisfied that there are no other substantive matters which weigh against the proposal.

“I am wholly satisfied that the adverse impacts of allowing development do not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits and as such the development proposal should be granted planning permission. I shall allow the appeal.”

Acting on behalf of Metacre, planning consultancy De Pol also successfully appealed the £200,000 Section 106 contribution that would have funded local bus services in the area. The provision was subsequently removed. Metacre is now set to put the 11-acre site out to tender for a housebuilder.

De Pol managing director Alexis De Pol said: “Although this is currently agricultural land, we argued that other local development was already extending the settlement boundary and that this was a natural and sustainable position for new homes, in an area which is unable to demonstrate a five-year housing supply.

“We were also able to demonstrate its sustainability, and the adequacy of public transport provision which not only supported our highways arguments but also allowed us to challenge the £200,000 S106 contribution which had been requested for public transport provision. The village is in fact well served by numerous bus routes and we were able to show the contribution was therefore not necessary for the sustainability of the scheme.”

Metacre forms part of the Lancashire-based Northern Trust Company group, a privately owned property investment firm which specialises in development and regeneration.

Alongside De Pol, the team also includes Liverpool-based architect MBED.

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