The Secretary of State has dismissed a recovered appeal against Cheshire East Council’s refusal of outline planning permission for up to 900 homes and a range of employment, education and retail facilities on a former golf course near Crewe. Between the Inspector’s report and the Secretary of State’s decision, the Council adopted their new Local Plan Strategy and could demonstrate a housing land supply for 5.3 years.
The Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector that the large-scale proposal was clearly contrary to local plan policies restricting development in the open countryside and at the bottom of the settlement hierarchy. The Appellant’s suggestion that the site had been designated for development was based on a misinterpretation of the former local plan proposals map. The proposal was also considered to be premature by the Inspector given the advanced stage of the Local Plan Strategy (in which the site was not allocated) at the time of her report.
The Secretary of State said that “how the future demands of HS2 will be met is a matter for consideration through a development plan and should be afforded no weight in the planning balance”.
Given the former absence of a five-year housing land supply, the Inspector had applied NPPF para. 14 and found that the adverse impacts of granting planning permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposal. The Secretary of State – with 5.3 years supply confirmed under the new Local Plan Strategy – concluded that the proposal was not in accordance with the development plan, and no material considerations indicated that permission should be granted despite that conflict.
A copy of the decision is available here.