On 12 November 2018, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government dismissed two recovered appeals by Peel Investments (North) Ltd against the refusal of planning permission by Salford City Council for the construction of 600 and 165 homes respectively on land in West Salford known as the Worsley Greenway.
The Worsley Greenway is protected by saved policies in the Council’s Unitary Development Plan.
The 600-home appeal had previously been dismissed by the Secretary of State in March 2016, but this decision was quashed by consent in the High Court in July 2016. A second inquiry, to hear the 600-home appeal alongside the 165-home appeal, was conducted in February – March 2018.
The Secretary of State did not apply the “tilted balance” because (paragraph 16):
“… even in the absence of policies for the need and distribution of housing, there remains a plan in place, and a policy for the land in question which is sufficient to establish that the developments are unacceptable in principle, and so the plan is in line the paragraph 11(d) of the Framework”.
The Appellant had sought to argue that the Council could not demonstrate a five-year housing land supply because it could not secure enough affordable homes, enough houses (rather than flats), and enough “aspirational” (large) homes. The Secretary of State agreed with the Council that these issues – while material in the planning balance – are irrelevant when deciding whether there is a five-year housing land supply. The Secretary of State accordingly found a supply of over 13 years.
The Secretary of State concluded that the appeal schemes were both contrary to the development plan, primarily due to the substantial harm that would be inflicted on the Worsley Greenway, and that no material considerations would justify a departure from the development plan.