A Government planning inspector has granted permission on appeal to two residential schemes in Broughton totalling 220 homes, overturning Preston City Council’s refusal after the local authority conceded it couldn’t demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.
An inquiry into the council’s decision to reject the projects took place in February. The applications were from Wainhomes, proposing 130 homes at Keyfold Farm, and Hollins Strategic Land applying for persion to build 97 houses at a nearby site on Sandy Gate Lane.
The investigation from inspector Keith Manning centred around whether the council had an adequate supply of land, whether the proposals clashed with neighbourhood plans, and whether they would cause environmental harm.
On the second day of the inquiry Preston City Council withdrew from contesting the appeals, after being examined and cross-examined over its estimates of the number of the sites available to fulfill housing need in the coming years.
In Manning’s decision report, he said that the council conceded that it could not demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites.
He outlined that there had been an under-provision of homes in Preston since 2003, which had accumulated into a backlog of more than 1,600 homes.
“The worst case scenario” of only a little over three years’ supply was demonstrated and “very largely accepted by the Council”, Manning said.
Despite objections, which largely came from Broughton Parish Council, Manning described the proposals as “well located”, with good access to services and facilities. In response to fears about impact on what is a greenfield area, he said that “it should be possible to develop the site in a manner which is sensitive to its location on the rural fringe of the village”.
Director of planning at the city council Chris Hayward said: “Upon advice from our Barrister, we took the decision to end our participation in the public inquiry after conceding that we cannot currently demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing land, as required by Government policy.
“We continue to have concerns about the Government’s policy on housing land supply and the uncertainty this creates, even when there is a recently-adopted local plan in place. We feel that this undermines confidence in the planning system, a view which Preston City Council has already expressed to the Minister for Planning.”