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  • Amanda Stobbs

Appeal Success for 70 Dwellings

We are delighted to have won a planning appeal for our client EMH Homes allowing the construction of a 70 dwelling scheme providing 100% affordable housing on land allocated for ‘around’ 55 dwellings in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire.

The planning application had been supported by Planning Officers following extensive negotiations, the submission of a Viability Assessment that was independently ratified by the District Valuer Service and several design modifications. The proposals extended beyond the allocated site to provide a flood attenuation basin for the scheme and a second basin to reduce an existing flood risk to the benefit of adjacent residents.

However, planning permission was refused by the Council’s Planning Committee who were concerned that the proposal represented the overdevelopment of the site, citing the increased number of dwellings, the density and a lack of visual relief, the extended site boundary and that the financial contributions were insufficient for the scale of scheme.

In support of the appeal, we demonstrated that the under-delivery of affordable housing on market schemes, falling short of the policy requirements, had led to a significant need for affordable housing in the District, a position supported by the Council’s own Strategic Housing Team. Furthermore, it was demonstrated through 3D visuals that the site’s layout was of an acceptable density and design, countering the Council’s argument on overdevelopment. That the site extended beyond the allocated development boundary was demonstrated to be consistent with policy and the Council’s approach on other schemes.

Addressing the reason for refusal on financial contributions, it was acknowledged that these fell short of the requested amount. However, on our client’s behalf, we argued that insufficient weight had been afforded to the Council’s duty to facilitate the delivery of the District’s affordable housing need and the community benefits derived from addressing the existing flood risk. The scheme also exceeded the policy requirement for public open space and forestry planting. We also demonstrated that the Council had historically relaxed the financial contributions on 100% affordable housing schemes in line with provisions made in their policy.

The appeal was supported by a Unilateral Undertaking to ensure the delivery of the flood risk management measures and the financial contributions in line with the District Valuer Service’s conclusions.

Despite our frustration at the Planning Inspectorate accepting the Council’s late submission of its appeal statements, resulting in our need to provide additional rebuttals, we won the appeal.

In concluding, the Inspector was ‘… firmly of the view that the provision of the very substantial benefits [as outlined] … are significant material considerations which, in this instance, outweigh the development plan conflict’.


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