A developer has won the right to build a housing estate in an area of countryside described by the local planning authority as a ‘valued landscape’.
The authority had initially refused permission for the development so the matter came before a planning inspector. The inspector had to consider the impact of the proposed housing estate on the character and appearance of the area.
The planning authority argued that the site was entitled to protection as a “valued landscape” within the meaning of the National Planning Policy Framework. There was competing expert evidence on whether the site had attributes which elevated it above the ordinary countryside so as to make it valued landscape worthy of particular protection.
The inspector held that a valued landscape was one which was considered to be of value because of “particular attributes” which had been “designated through the adoption of a local planning document”.
He noted that the proposed site was not the subject of any such designation. He concluded that the development would have a harmful impact on the landscape but that did not outweigh its benefits.
He therefore granted outline planning permission subject to appropriate conditions.
The High Court has upheld that decision. It noted that the inspector had visited the site and concluded that there were no landscape features, characteristics or elements elevating the site above the countryside in general. He was clearly entitled to arrive at that conclusion on the evidence.
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Developer wins right to build houses on ‘valued landscape’ EWHC 2429 (Admin)
FOREST OF DEAN DISTRICT COUNCIL v (1) SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMUNITIES & LOCAL GOVERNMENT (2) GLADMAN DEVELOPMENTS LTD (2016)
QBD (Admin) (Hickinbottom J) 04/10/2016