A very similar application was refused on Appeal earlier this year.
The two key issues at the previous appeal were about the suitability of the location for the development and the effect on local character and visual amenity, with particular regard to the vicinity of Old Purton Road.
The Planning Inspector concluded:
Core Policy 1 of the Wiltshire Core Strategy sets out the settlement strategy for the area and states, in relation to a ‘Large Village’ (Purton), that development will be limited to that needed to help meet the housing needs of settlements (Purton). He concluded that the proposal conflicted with this policy.
Core Policy 19 details the amount of development expected in each community area. The site falls within the Royal Wootton Bassett and Cricklade Community Area, within which around 385 houses are expected to be delivered outside of Royal Wootton Bassett Town. There was no dispute that this number had already been delivered. The proposal conflicted with this policy too.
Saved Policy H4 of the North Wiltshire Local Plan 2011 (a precursor to the Core Strategy) restricts development in the countryside, other than in specified circumstances, none of which apply to the appeal proposal.
Taking all the policies together and having regard to the supporting text, the Inspector said the proposal was “entirely at odds with the Neighbourhood Plan taken as a whole and manifestly incompatible with the strategy contained within it.” It was noted that the community has gone to significant effort to plan positively for its neighbourhood area. The proposed development would deliver housing that is clearly not anticipated or sought by the Plan.
There were then some complicated arguments about how up-to-date policies needed to be to carry weight but the Inspector concluded that there was no scope for applying the housing requirements in an adjoining authority (Swindon) and that Wiltshire Council, in partnership with Swindon Borough Council, had considered the need for further development west of Swindon and found that there was none, and that development in this area did not represent the most sustainable option for future growth in Swindon.
He made the critical judgment that should it become necessary to allocate housing west of Swindon in the future, that would be a matter for the plan-making process not for planning appeals.
Overall, he concluded that the appeal site was not located in an area supported by the development plan. It would involve housing development in the countryside, remote from all settlements identified for development in the Core Strategy and not in accordance with any of the housing allocations made by the Neighbourhood Plan.
Whilst the landscape features would remain largely unaltered, there would be inevitable adverse impacts in terms of character. These would be in conflict with Core Policy 51 which requires development to protect, conserve and where possible enhance landscape character. Although the resulting harm is limited, this was a matter that further weighs against the appeal proposal.
So, bottom line, the appeal proposal conflicted with policies CP1, CP2 and CP19 of the Core Strategy, policy H4 of the Local Plan, and the Purton Neighbourhood Plan, there was additional limited harm to the character of the area (conflict with policy CP51 of the Core Strategy). The proposal was refused.
With a just a simple reduction of two houses (79) from the previously-refused proposal (81) there are no material changes and the above reasons are still valid and this new application should be refused.
The application reference is 20/10523/OUT and can be found here and is officially known as “Land at Purton Road, Swindon”. Comments are required by Thursday, 28 January 2021.
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