Planning permission has been refused for up to 30 dwellings on the edge of the village of Cople near Bedford, despite the Council having no five year housing land supply.
The main issues at the inquiry concerned the impact of the proposals on the character and appearance of the area and whether the site would be a suitable location for new housing, having regard to social and physical infrastructure in the locality.
Also in dispute was the continuing relevance of development plan policies relating to housing in the countryside, which were out of date by reason of the Council having no five year supply. In relation to this issue, the Inspector considered that the appeal proposal was in conflict with development plan policies “in so far as they seek to direct development to within the development envelope unless specific reasons exist.” As such, some weight could still be attributed to the underlying pattern of development that these policies promoted, despite the housing supply shortfall.
The Inspector agreed with the Council that the appeal site formed an integral part of the character of the area, falling outside the settlement boundary and separated from it by designated open space. Development of the appeal site as a cul-de-sac was considered to be out of keeping with Cople, which was a typical linear village.
The Inspector further considered that although there was a regular bus service and some options for walking and cycling, the facilities within range of walking were not sufficient for the site to be considered sustainable.
Daisy Noble appeared on behalf of the local planning authority, Bedford Borough Council.