The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, has stepped in to overrule a Planning Inspector who had ruled in favour of a housing developer, because the decision would have been contrary to a Neighbourhood Plan.
Speculative developer Gladman appealed after Aylesbury Vale District Council refused planning permission for a 211-home estate in fields around a farm 850 metres from the town centre in Winslow, Buckinghamshire. Mr Pickles decided to ‘recover’ the appeal for his decision because of the existence of the Neighbourhood Plan, which had only just been ‘made’ in law last September.
The Secretary of State accepted a number of the points made by the Inspector but considered that the absence of a valid Local Plan and five-year housing land supply did not outweigh the facts that the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan had been ‘made’ and that its spatial strategy put the development outside the Winslow Settlement Boundary.
He placed “very substantial negative weight on the conflict between the appeal proposal and the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan” which was now part of the formal Development Plan. He concluded that “there are no material circumstances that indicate the proposal should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan”. He overruled the inspector’s recommendation, dismissed the appeal and refused planning permission.
This is great news for Neighbourhood Plan making groups, showing that the status of Neighbourhood Plans is recognised and defended at the highest levels, and that they have a real and effective role in planning decision-making. It underscores the importance of preparing locally made plans that reflect community aspirations.
Winslow will shortly be setting case law for real, as a Judicial Review of the plan-making process for the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan is due to be heard at London’s High Court on December 11 and 12.Share this...