Urban extension at Brockworth
11 April 2016 | Planning Applications
HPP are delighted to have secured planning permission for an urban extension comprising;
- 1500 homes, 3.3ha of new employment space (B1/B2/B8);
- A community hub to include health services and shopping facilities;
- Land allocated for a Primary School;
- Sports hub comprising additional pitches for local clubs, and children's play areas;
HPP submitted the application in 2012 on behalf of ERLP2 and The Society of Merchant Venturers, following discussions and negotiations with Officers and interested parties which took place for a period of time exceeding 18 months. HPP were then responsible for the public Inquiry which took place in 2015.
The site is located within the Green Belt and received a positive recommendation by the planning inspectorate. Tewkesbury Borough Council had not opposed the application and its planning committee had recommended that a decision be delegated to the council's development manager, subject to referral to the secretary of state.
Clark called the application in as he wanted to examine "its conformity with policies contained in the National Planning Policy Framework on delivering a wide choice of high quality housing and on protecting green belt land".
Clark's decision letter, issued at the beginning of April, confirmed that he had decided to approve the application, in line with the inspector's recommendation. Clark agreed with both HPP's and the Inspector's assessment "about the harm to the green belt and other harm that the proposal would cause".
It was evident that Clark agreed with HPPs findings "that the supply of housing in Tewkesbury Borough should be regarded as sitting within a range of 1.8-3.9 years and notes that the undersupply has persisted over a lengthy period". However, the letter added that government policy "has stated that unmet [housing] need is unlikely to clearly outweigh harm to the green belt and any other harm so as to establish very special circumstances".
Clark agreed however that very special circumstances did exist to allow the development to proceed, agreeing with the inspector that "it is significant that the application site has the support of all three planning authorities involved with [the creation of a new joint core strategy (JCS)].
"He also agrees with the Inspector that the proposal could be described as plan-led development rather than one which would undermine the plan-making process. Since the proposal is in keeping with the emerging JCS, he agrees that the proposal should not be regarded as premature within the terms of [the NPPF]."
The letter confirmed that Clark "notes that the preliminary findings of the JCS examiner include that exceptional circumstances exist for the release of the proposed A4- Brockworth strategic development allocation from the green belt and that its allocation is sound".
HPP had argued that certain local plan policies relevant for the supply of housing should not be regarded as up to date in view of the accepted lack of an adequate housing land supply in Tewkesbury Borough. It is evident from Clark's decision letter that he agreed with these findings confirming,
"Thus the secretary of state agrees with the inspector that, whilst there is conflict with the adopted development plan, there are other important considerations to be weighed in the balance."
"With regard to the conflict in relation to the local plan's green belt policy ? he agrees with the inspector that very special circumstances have been demonstrated, so that the proposal would accord with [the NPPF]."
The letter concluded: "Bearing in mind that the JCS has been prepared so as to be broadly consistent with current national policy, the secretary of state agrees with the inspector that considerable weight should be attached to the broad approach of the JCS and, as a consequence, the contribution which the application site is expected to make to the strategic planning of the area.
"For these reasons, combined with there being very special circumstances in this case, the secretary of state agrees with the inspector that there are sufficient considerations to outweigh the conflict with the development plan".
For more details on this case, please see the attached press article