In the last Planning Newsletter we referred to the appeal in respect of housing development at Thaxted, where objections relating to biodiversity effects had been overcome by provision of an offsetting site. The appeal has now been allowed and planning permission granted: Appeal Reference APP/C1750/A/13/2206357, 22 May 2014, Tim Wood BA (Hons), BTP, MRTPI. As well as endorsing the offsetting approach, the admirably concise decision letter deals with the issue of housing land supply. The council could not demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply at the time of refusal, but claimed that it could by the date of the inquiry. The inspector accepted the evidence of the appellants that housing supply was fragile and dependent on windfall sites and draft local plan allocations, which was inappropriate. Accordingly the relevant policies for the supply of housing could not be considered up to date in the light of the NPPF and that the proposal represents sustainable development.
Stephen Tromans QC represented the appellants, instructed by Barr Ellison LLP (partner Elizabeth Deyong). Witnesses were Guy Kaddish of Bidwells (planning policy and housing land supply), Roland Bull of Bidwells (land management), and Max Wade of RPS Group (ecology).