It was not the third time lucky for a persistent developer?
Government Planning Inspector D.R McCreery. MA BA (Hons) MRTPI has dismissed an appeal by Bewley Homes to build 140 homes in Farnham.
Phew! Is that the sound of relief we can hear from g the planning gurus at Waverley Towers?
If the appeal were allowed, it would have resulted in a significant coalescence of Farnham, Aldershot, Weybourne, and Badshot Lea.
Although he accepted that Waverley Council had a significant shortfall in its 5-year housing land supply – and although the parties disagreed on the Council’s supply position, for the appeal, they agree that the 5-year housing land supply figure falls somewhere within the range of
3.53 and 4.28 years
“There is little concrete evidence to demonstrate that the Council has a credible strategy, including progressing through an agreed timetable for updating the Local Plan Part 1, that will address the housing land supply issues of the Borough on a wider basis anytime soon. In these circumstances, the Appellant is correct to characterise the shortfall in housing land supply as significant. The removal of the shortfall from earlier in the plan period, which accords with National Planning Practice Guidance4 , makes little difference to my judgement on this matter.”
In the overall conclusion on the central issue of character and appearance of the appeal site, the Inspector concluded. that the proposal would fail to protect the countryside from inappropriate development and would not enhance the landscape value of the countryside. It would also clearly lead to increased coalescence between Badshot Lea and Weybourne. Consequently, it conflicted with the development plan for the area, the Local Plan Part 1 and the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan.
The effects on SPAs were subject to discussion at the inquiry, specifically by Cllr Hyman. Given the detailed nature of the comments raised, the response produced an agreed note 5 between the Council and the Appellant. The note is the same as that produced during the 2021 Appeal inquiry and has been subject to confirmation with Natural England that it remains factually correct.
In conclusion, the Inspector said:
I have paid regard to the recent appeal decision at Hale Road. This is relevant as it considered development outside of the Built up Area Boundary in the Neighbourhood Plan, with the presumption providing a material consideration in favour of granting planning permission. Whilst differently situated, landscape effects were considered in that case.
However, settlement effects arising from coalescence were not. Nor is there anything within that decision to suggest that the conflict with the specific policies of the Neighbourhood Plan was as clear and obvious. In the absence of other material considerations to indicate otherwise, the appeal should be determined in accordance with the development plan. In this case, that would be a refusal of planning permission. For the above reasons and paying regard to all the other points made, the appeal is dismissed.
Waverley Borough Council has to provide for at least 11,210 (590 dwellings per annum) additional homes in the plan period, including a minimum of 2,780 homes within Farnham.
You can read the complete appeal decision document below.