The creativity pre-election Pickles is finding to refuse schemes, especially if they happen to be in Cheshire East, is knowing no bounds.
Take this new called in case.
APPEALS BY MULLER PROPERTY GROUP: (A) LAND OFF AUDLEM ROAD/BROAD LANE, STAPELEY, NANTWICH, and (B) LAND OFF PETER DESTAPELEIGH WAY, NANTWICH (EAST CHESHIRE COUNCIL
No 5 year supply
Hard to argue prematurity as local plan prelim findings unsound as not enough housing land.
The inspector recommends approval.
But the SoS finds for appeal A
the Secretary of State disagrees with the Inspector at IR12.23 that circumstances mean that the loss of BMV land and open countryside are unavoidable. He accepts that, across the District, some such losses are likely to be inevitable once the true picture on housing land supply has been established through CELP, but he does not consider that the appeal site will necessarily be one of the most appropriate sites to take and that it should not therefore be assumed at this stage that the development of this good quality agricultural land in open countryside for uses which are not in accordance with the LP should proceed on a piecemeal basis. On balance, therefore, and as things currently stand in relation to the LP and CELP, the Secretary of State concludes that the appeal scheme fails to represent sustainable development in terms of being the most effective way of improving the economic, social and environmental conditions of the wider area.
Note the new doctrine, wider even than prematurity, its a ‘no piecemeal’ principle as is ‘not the most effective way’ of meeting need’. In other words it might not be the best site, even though in this case without draft local plan that meets need the LPA cannot even point to where a better site might be. For those who criticised the NPPF for promoting piecemeal development this seems to be the new policy that this point is accepted by the SoS. The problem is it allows the SoS to behave like bad LPA, saying it is a bad site but not saying where a better one is. In these cases the default position then becomes no and not yes and we undersupply housing. Again how can anyone say the NPPF is clear and effective when in the same breath it can be used to provide a presumption in favour of or against the development of the open countryside, depending on how close an election is. The NPPF has become a joke, vague cover to allow almost any decision of the SoS’s choosing based on solely political factors.
Appeal B is the same argument without even BMV
The Secretary of State accepts that it is highly likely that some of the land falling within the terms of LP Policies NE.2 and RES.5 will need to be used to meet the housing
land supply requirements of the Council’s area once these have been finalised through the CELP, but he considers that the adverse impacts of adopting a piecemeal approach in the interim period would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of bringing forward more housing land quickly, when assessed against the policies in the Framework taken as a whole.