Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Cala Homes wins at last

In case you hadn’t picked up on the news, the Secretary of State granted planning permission last week for the 2,000-home development by Cala Homes at Barton Farm, Winchester. This was a re-determination following the quashing (by consent) by the High Court of the original ministerial decision rejecting the scheme.

An inspector had originally recommended approval, but the Secretary of State rejected his inspector’s view on the grounds that it was premature in advance of the emerging development plan. De-CLoG accepted that they had erred in law in doing this. By contrast with the department’s previous stance, limited weight was attached to Winchester’s draft core strategy this time round, on the basis that there are various objections outstanding to the applicable policies, which have yet to be considered. But the clincher seems to have been that Winchester has now allocated Barton Farm in its core strategy as a site for 2,000 homes, albeit reluctantly.

The reason for the apparent volte-face is that, as in a number of other cases where LPAs have lost appeals, Winchester is unable to demonstrate that it has a five-year supply of housing land. A significant element of affordable housing (40%) is included in the scheme, and this appears to have been a further factor favouring approval. The scheme was also found to be in line with the presumption in favour of sustainable development in the NPPF.


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