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50 houses for West Hill - appeal dismissed!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011 0 Comments by Claire

An appeal challenging East Devon District Council’s refusal to build 50 houses on land next to Eastfield, West Hill, was this morning dismissed by the planning inspector.

It brings to an end two years of uncertainty and anxiety for many residents whose homes border the land subject to the planning application for 50 houses.

The appeal, which took the form of a three-day public inquiry, was regarded as a test case, as it focused on EDDC’s method for calculating its housing land supply – splitting the district in half, a different approach from many other authorities.

The reasons for rejecting the appeal at Eastfield are quite strong.  I list the main points below:

• The proposal conflicts with county council and district council countryside protection policies

• Cranbrook is now in the process of being built, which should take the pressure off the surrounding villages

• The site makes a valuable contribution to the rural setting of West Hill and although not subject to national landscape designation, it is part of an attractive landscape which is characteristic of this part of East Devon

• The quality of the landscape has been underestimated by the EDDC planning officer’s report

• West Hill residents are largely dependent on trips outside of the village to access facilities so it is difficult to describe West Hill as sustainable from a transport perspective

• The National Planning Policy Framework is in draft form and subject to change so carries little weight

The application for Westhayes – 15 houses, which was due to be determined (recommended for approval) at this afternoon’s Development Management Committee meeting, has now been deferred to allow the planning officers time to consider the inspector’s report re Blue Cedar Homes.

The inspector’s decision is clearly excellent news for West Hill and everyone who took the time to comment on the application (almost 500 which were considered by EDDC and the inspector) has contributed to this decision.

Many of the reasons for dismissing the appeal appear to apply to blog below, which outlines the appeal case for 38 houses opposite McColls, also in West Hill.  And I have now read three inspectors’ reports which state that the National Planning Policy Framework carries little weight, as it is in draft form and subject to change.  A welcome statement.

Developers are pursuing the five year housing land supply issue as grounds for appeal, in other parts of the district.  This decision may have implications for other large-scale planning applications.  Certainly, developers will be studying the report very carefully.

Anyone who would like a copy of the full inspector’s report can email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call me on 01404 812531.

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