On 11 January 2022, Harold Stephens, an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State, allowed an appeal and granted planning permission for 99 homes (including 30% affordable) in the village of Alfold in Surrey.
The appeal was brought by the Merchant Seamans War Memorial Society (the landowner) and Thakeham Homes Limited (the developer), following the refusal of planning permission by Waverley Borough Council on 5 March 2021.
The Inspector accepted the Appellant’s case that:
- The proposal complied with the development plan taken as a whole, which supported limited growth in and around villages such as Alfold, given their position outside of the most constrained parts of the borough (Green Belt, AONB and Areas of Great Landscape Value). Although the planned allocation of 125 homes in Alfold had already been exceeded in the plan period, this was a minimum figure.
- The most important development plan policies were in any event out-of-date because the Council, contrary to their assertion of a five-year housing land supply, could only demonstrate a supply of just over four years.
- The development plan was also out-of-date regardless of the housing land supply position, on account of “Part 1” of the Local Plan being predicated on the speedy adoption of “Part 2”, which had been considerably delayed and only just submitted for public examination.
- The proposal would only have some localised and limited landscape and visual effects, due to the strong visual containment of the site and the proposed landscaping.
- The loss of a single tree subject to a Tree Preservation Order was outweighed by the retention of a substantial majority of existing trees on the site, and the proposed planting of 198 trees as part of the development’s landscaping scheme.
- The proposed development would maximise the sustainable transport options available in a rural area.
The appeal decision is available here.