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Green light for residential development

Four major housing schemes, one on land in current Green Belt, have been allowed by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. Residential development of nearly 1,600 new homes was involved.

In each case the Secretary of State agreed with the recommendations of the planning inspector who held the resulting public inquiries. Two were recovered appeals (one for two sites at Horsforth near Leeds) while one – for a location in Essex Green Belt - was a call-in.

The largest scheme - for an urban extension to Swindon by Swindon Gateway Partnership, on land south of Marlborough Road (A4259) adjoining the Great Western Hospital – had been refused by the borough council after considerable local opposition from residents.

The minister’s decision letter said the proposals for up to 890 homes accorded with the development plan, were not premature in respect of the emerging Core Strategy and that there were no “material considerations of sufficient weight which would justify refusing planning permission”.

In the case of the two proposals for sites near Leeds, refused by the city council, the Secretary of State concluded that the development plan proposals in favour of the two schemes (for a total of 550 new homes) outweighed the policies with which the schemes were in conflict. The affordable element of the developments was a key determining factor in the success of the developers, Harrow Estates and Horsforth Riverside.

In respect of the Essex project, earmarked by Barratt Homes for land at Stanford-Le-Hope, the minister concluded the 350-home scheme would be a sustainable urban extension and that very special circumstances existed to justify development in the Green Belt. Part of the site had been identified as a broad location for housing development and removal from Green Belt.

Read the Stanford-Le-Hope decision letter and inspector’s report.

Read the Horsforth decision letter and inspector’s report.

Read the Swindon decision letter and inspector’s report.

Roger Milne

28 March 2012