The site was allocated in the recently adopted local plan for 625 houses and Bloor Homes submitted an outline application in June 2018. Officers recommended permission, however, notwithstanding the fact that the site was allocated, members refused the application. The LPA refused permission on the grounds that a second access under a historic railway viaduct, controlled by Network Rail, was required and which was not provided. The Town Council argued there would be an adverse impact on the nearby AONB, and heritage harm to the viaduct and Conservation Area.
Ridge led the appeal on behalf of Bloor Homes and on 26 March 2020, this appeal was recovered for the Secretary of State’s (SOS) determination, in pursuance of section 79 of, and paragraph 3 of Schedule 6 to, the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The Council (Herefordshire) withdrew its objection however the Town Council had taken up Rule 6 status.
Ridge demonstrated that the proposal, in fact, improved the critical junction and introduced a pedestrian access. Furthermore, Ridge highlighted that the site was allocated within the recently adopted Local Plan and the LPA was unable to demonstrate a 5-year supply of housing land. Additionally, Ridge demonstrated that the proposal would cause no harm to the historic significance of the viaduct, particularly given that there was already housing on the other side of this structure.
There was a recently adopted neighbourhood development plan however it did not allocate any sites.
The SOS agreed with the case presented by Ridge and, in his decision notice, he gave the following;
The Inspector awarded costs against the LPA for the period of time until it withdrew its objection and also awarded costs against the Town Council for arguing against a pedestrian access it had requested.
For a copy of the decision notice please click on the link below: