Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Developer's Grounds for Appeal

Pasted in below are the grounds for appeal cited by Redrow Homes and Persimmon Homes to take their case to planning appeal. The four reasons mentioned relate to those given by Swindon Borough Council for refusing planning permission. Please note that Swindon Borough Council will not be defending Reason 4 at the planning inquiry – the loss of Richard Jefferies literary heritage land – and have dropped this reason for refusal.
Please note that when you write to the planning inspector, you can raise other issues – e.g. the negative impact on archaeology and Day House Copse Nature Reserve (and other wildlife) whose value won’t be improved by setting them in a modern estate, flooding, recreational value of Dayhouse Lane etc. 

GROUNDS FOR APPEAL – Swindon Gateway planning application
1. The Council’s decision fails to have proper regard to Government Policy to stimulate growth, the role of Swindon as a growth point and the merits of the site as highly a sustainable location to development when assessed in comparison with other candidate locations in urban extensions.
2. Furthermore, there is an acknowledged shortfall in the five year housing land supply.
Paragraph 71 of PPS3 advises that where there is not a five year land supply, planning
applications for housing should be considered favourably, having regard to the considerations
in paragraph 69, which are met by the Appeal Proposals.
3. The Council’s decision fails to have proper regard to the Secretary of State decision of 5th
August 2009 – PINS Reference: APP/U3935/A/08/2085605 and 2090316. The appeals related to a larger development proposal of which the Appeal Site formed a part. The Appellant will demonstrate that the modified proposals have responded positively, and now satisfy, the key elements of the SoS decision. It will be shown that the LPA seeks to maintain objections to components and details of a scheme which the SoS has previously indicated to be acceptable and/or previous objections which have now been properly and satisfactorily resolved.
4. “Commonhead” is the only non-implemented allocation carried over from the Swindon Borough Local Plan. Its status as a Development Plan allocation has been endorsed by the SoS in the 2009 Appeal decision. Furthermore, the SoS considered the development of the site in terms of its “compliance with the Government’s policies on sustainable development” and found the site to score highly in sustainability terms when assessed in comparison with other candidate locations for urban extensions. Accordingly, the Appellant will demonstrate that the Appeal Site is uniquely placed to provide the necessary continuity in housing land supply.
5. Furthermore, the Appellant will demonstrate how the Appeal Proposal accords with the
commitment to the principle of the development of the site as consistently maintained in the
Proposed Submission Core Strategy, approved for consultation by the LPA in February 2011, and in three previous Core Strategy consultation documents since 2008.
Reason (1)
6. In view of the identification of the Appeal Site in the adopted Local Plan and successive
drafts of the emerging Core Strategy, the Appellant will submit that it would not be premature to grant consent in advance of the adoption of the Core Strategy. PPS3 (para 72) states that LPAs should not refuse applications solely on grounds of prematurity. Furthermore, the LPA have failed to have proper regard to the 2009 SoS decision which accepted “that prematurity need not be an obstacle to granting planning permission.” This is recognised by the professional officers in their recommendation to grant planning permission.
Reason (2)
7. Traffic generated by the Appeal Proposal will be significantly reduced from the 2009 Appeal
Proposals whilst retaining off-site mitigation works as previously agreed with both Swindon
Borough Council and the Highway Agency. The SoS did not raise highways impact as an issue in his decision. The Appellants will demonstrate that the traffic generated by the proposals can be safely and efficiently accommodated on both the local and strategic road networks. Thus, in this respect the LPA’s decision is contrary to agreements with professional officers and statutory consultees as well as the previous SoS decision.
8. The Appellant will demonstrate that the location of the employment land within the proposed master plan would not result in car dominated development nor unacceptable level of severance.
Reason (3)
9. The Appellant will demonstrate that the scale and location of the proposed development
would not have an unacceptable impact on the setting or intrinsic qualities of the North
Wessex Downs AONB. The Scale Parameters Plan for the proposed development has been
modified following negotiations with key consultees so that the employment development
would be entirely two or three storeys, which in conjunction with the layout will provide
an entirely acceptable relationship with the AONB as required and supported by the
professional officers and statutory consultees.
10. Furthermore it will be demonstrated that the LPA decision fails to have regard to the
previous SoS decision on this site in respect of the substantially larger development,
which concluded that “as regards views towards Swindon from Liddington Hill and other
points on the northern slopes of the AONB, the proposal would meet the requirements of
Policy DS3.”
Reason (4)
11. The Appellant will demonstrate that the association of the landscape with the
literary work of Richard Jefferies as a nature writer does not represent a material
planning consideration which justifies withholding planning consent. The Richard
Jefferies Society has held long-standing objection to development in the area and made
representations to both the Local Plan Inquiry (2005) and previous appeal inquiry (2009).
The Appellant will make reference to the conclusions of both Inspectors and the SoS, who
agreed with the 2009 Inspector that “the literary associations of the area with Richard
Jefferies would not justify standing in the way of the development.” The LPA’s decision
does not have proper regard to the advice of the professional officers or the clear
conclusions of the previous SoS decision.
12. The Appellant will make reference to the detailed discussions held with LPA officers
and consultees prior to and following submission of the application. A Planning
Application Process Agreement was agreed by the Director of Planning and Transportation
on the basis that the master plan was considered to be an appropriate response to the SoS
decision and the Draft Core Strategy.
13. The Appellant will refer to Government advice (Circular 03/2009) that LPA’s should
show reasonable planning grounds for taking a decision contrary to the advice of
professional officers and should not persist in objections to a scheme which an Inspector
or SoS has previously indicated to be acceptable.
14. The Appellant will demonstrate that the appeal proposals have been prepared so as to
accord with the material provisions of the Development Plan and take forward and deliver
those components of the mixed use urban extension previously supported by the Secretary
of State and resolved all objections previously identified by the SoS. In so doing, the
Appellant will demonstrate that the decision of the Council is unreasonable.

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