Darley Eco-House



In what is a landmark decision that could have significant positive implications for landowners, housebuilders, developers and the like, the Secretary of State has allowed the development of 600 homes within a countryside protection area in Doncaster (Planning ref. 15/01278/OUTM). This is despite the council being adjudged to have a 10-year Housing Land Supply.

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council originally refused the plans for the scheme on a 31.5-hectare site on agricultural land near the village of Edenthorpe. The council refused the scheme because it was in an area designated a “countryside protection area” (CPA) in their unitary development plan and also their later core strategy. In arriving at his decision however, James Brokenshire agreed with the appointed Inspector that although the policies “aim to protect the countryside, they do not ensure that sufficient land is available of the right sort in the right place and at the right time to support growth and meet the needs of present and future generations.”

The policies were therefore considered “not in line with the direction of travel of local and national policies, particularly in reference to the CPA, which is an historic designation, and is out of date. This was because the council had made no evaluation of the quality of sites in what was a large washed over designation, nor had they yet allocated sites for development, but had accepted that they would have to look beyond the existing designated growth area to find sites.

The secretary of state held that this meant the most important policies for determining this application were out of date and that the tilted balance in favour of sustainable development as stated in paragraph 11 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) applied.

This decision not only has implications for sites within the CPA in Doncaster but also for other sites which are subject to overly protectionist policies or historic designations across the country. It shows that Inspectors are looking positively at new developments applying weight to the benefits of the provision of housing, along with transport and accessibility improvements and improved access to open and green space.

If you have a site and want to know how this decision may affect the prospects of achieving development, please get in touch with one of our planners who would be more than happy to help.

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