We have covered this case before here
I have a long history with this site in may I said
Expect JS Bloor (Tewksbury) Limited V SoS to be a prominent case around October 2012.
On the assumption that if Pickles did refuse it it would not stand up to challenge. It was also the first case to test the wolly ‘degree of consistency’ clause of the NPPF as in order to get away from their previous recommended strategy they had proposed to scatter development to the winds with no evidence to support it as well as massaging down housing numbers.
Well it has been allowed. It was a site previously in the local plan and was dropped solely and only because of the degree of controversy from residents of Stratford – upon – Avon before the impacts, or even practicality, of a dispersed strategy had been considered.
Some highlights, its a long appeal.
-Little weight of course given to teh emerging core strategy and the intention to revoke RSS
He agrees that although the expectation was that the need to release the site would be addressed after the Council had prepared its Core Strategy and Site Allocations Development Plan Documents, this does not rule out the development of the West of Shottery reserve site in advance of such a stage in plan preparation being reached, if required to meet current housing needs (IR480-481). He agrees that residential development of the West of Shottery site at the present time to meet housing needs is consistent with the expectation of Policy STR.2A [of the local plan review] and in such circumstances the proposal accords with this policy.
-To my mind though this is less irrelevant as the period covered by STR2 has now passed.
[The SoS notes] that there is disagreement over the 5 year land requirement and supply position, and that the Framework requires local planning authorities to plan for the full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area, as far as is consistent with the policies of the Framework (IR489). For the reasons given by the Inspector on the information currently before him, he considers that the figure of 11,000-12,000 dwellings for the period 2008-2028 more closely accords with the requirements of the Framework (IR492). The Secretary of State notes that the 5 year land supply is between 2.0-3.5 years depending on the way it is calculated (IR499). Even taking the more generous assessment of housing land supply there is still a significant unmet need for housing in the district which warrants a role for the appeal site as anticipated in the LPR.
-This will require an increase of around a third in the housing numbers in the draft core strategy, even another major urban extension at Stratford will not be enough. Stratford will need to expand eastwards which will require an extension of the relief road and a new Avon Crossing to avoid all traffic accessing it piling through the historic centre.
The Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector’s reasoning and conclusions on prematurity… He agrees that given the relatively early stage reached, apparent unresolved objections to relevant policies, and areas of potential inconsistency with the Framework, relatively little weight can be accorded to the emerging Core Strategy
The Secretary of State notes that considerable work has been undertaken on the neighbourhood plan process in Stratford-on-Avon. He agrees that the nspector is right to record that a core planning principle of the Framework is that planning should be genuinely plan-led, empowering local people to shape their surroundings. In this case he has reached the conclusion that the proposed development accords with the development plan, the LPR, which itself has been prepared with public participation.
As the neighbourhood plan must be consistent with the adopted Core Strategy and both are at an early stage, he therefore considers that relatively little weight attaches to the neighbourhood plan at this stage
-Impact on Anne Hathaways Cottage would be ‘slight’
The inspector stated
[a key] factor is the degree of consistency of the relevant policies with policies in the Framework, with the closer the policies are the greater the weight that may be given. Again, this is a matter to be considered through testing of the Plan. However, identified above under consideration (ii) is the key issue relating to the housing requirement for the Plan period, where it is concluded that Report APP/J3720/A/11/2163206 http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/planninginspectorate the 8,000 unit figure put forward by the Council does not accord with advice in the Framework on meeting housing needs. Furthermore, sustainability concerns have been identified with the proposed distribution. The soundness of the emerging Plan is not for determination through this appeal, but there do appear to be significant questions relating to the degree of consistency with the Framework.
Back to the drawing board.
The key outcome is clear, those (many) LPAs who expected to punt meeting housing need into the far future through an excuse of an interminable neighborhood planning process that has yet anywhere, anywhere to lead to a significant increase in planned housing in any significant settlement, will have their pangloissian fantasies dashed. Unless you can show a 5 year supply on objective need (the test here as the local plan need timescale had run out and the RSS was out of date) then forget it, you need to be able to show delivery now within the 5 year period and in your new plan show that delivery sustained. Neighborhood planning realistically is a minor adjunct to the process of new style local plan making, it is no longer in the driving seat. It has been tried and failed, it cannot deliver a 5 year supply in any district with persistent under-delivery anywhere. Localism was dying, is now, in terms of local plan making, dead.
It was of course the whole premise of Open Source Planning that localism would deliver, the whole philosophical basis of the NPPF. Now it has failed what is the Tory agenda left foir planning, is it simply to chip away at the carcass of local government until there is no planning function left?