Saturday, 04 December 2021

Developer fails in last-ditch bid for 245 homes

Developer fails in last-ditch bid for 245 homes

A DEVELOPER’S last-ditch bid to get permission for 245 new homes on farmland has failed.

Gladman Homes asked the High Court to overturn a planning inspector’s decision to uphold South Oxfordshire District Council’s rejection of the proposed development of three fields between Peppard Road and Kiln Road in Emmer Green.

It argued that the inspector Nick Palmer and the council had both underestimated the amount of new housing that the district would need so the application should be allowed in order to meet demand.

But the court has refused to grant a hearing, saying the company had “no prospect” of success and ordered it to pay £2,960 towards the Government’s costs in preparing a written response.

Gladman wanted to develop 13.5 hectares of land in Eye and Dunsden parish, which is owned by the Phillimore estate. The plans were opposed by neighbouring parish councils and the Campaign Against Gladman in Eye and Dunsden, a residents’ group.

Objectors feared the parish would be swallowed by the urban mass of Reading and the new homes would put excessive pressure on roads and services in Caversham and Emmer Green as well as spoiling views of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The company’s application was turned down in 2017 and rejected on appeal following a public inquiry.

Gladman said Mr Palmer had failed to consider the extra homes that South Oxfordshire might have to take as overspill from Oxford, which is behind on its housing targets, as part of a deal with the Government for additional investment.

But the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government said this was “totally without merit”.

The Hon Mrs Justice Lang said the council had enough housing land to meet the next three years’ demand, which is the statutory minimum.

She said: “The inspector reviewed the different assessments of housing need placed before him and formed the overall conclusion that the [council] could demonstrate a three-year housing supply. That was a reasonable and lawful planning judgement.

“Unmet need from neighbouring areas can be considered separately from the local housing need figure… the allegation that the inspector made a mistake of fact seems to be based on a misunderstanding of his decision.”

Leigh Rawlins, a Sonning Common parish councillor and member of CAGE, welcomed the decision, saying if the development had been allowed it could have set a precedent for housing elsewhere on the 1,400-hectare estate.

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