Planning inspector overturns council decision to block 167-home development on Green Belt land

A council's decision to reject plans for a 167-home development to be built on Green Belt land has been overturned by a planning inspector.

North Hertfordshire District Council had refused permission for the development in Codicote. But in May 2021, Ashill Land Ltd made a planning appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

In his report, Mr Peter Rose, the planning inspector, acknowledged that the scheme would incur "definitional harm" as an "inappropriate development" and would impose various levels of moderate-significant harm through loss of openness and through encroachment.

To that extent, the scheme would conflict with Policy 2 of the Local Plan, which seeks to ensure that uses of land in the Green Belt will be kept open in character, Mr Rose said.

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But Mr Rose said the arguments in favour of housing outweighed the impact on Green Belt land.

The inspector attached "very substantial weight" to the "critically" needed housing benefits of the scheme and "significant weight" to addressing the urgency for school expansion.

The potential harm to the Green Belt, by reason of inappropriateness, was "clearly" outweighed by the considerations for housing and school capacity, Mr Rose said.

The inspector concluded that the appeal should be allowed subject to conditions.

Adam Carey

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