The subject site was greenfield, excluded from the development boundary, on the edge of the AONB and subject to a number of trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPO). As the site was not allocated for housing within the development plan, the appeal proposal was contrary to Local Plan Policy. However, the planning team at Ridge established that there was a severe shortage in the supply of housing land in the Borough, (less than 2.5 years) and the SOS agreed that considerable weight should be given to this shortfall. The SOS concluded that the proposal would accord with the broad aim of strategy for housing growth within the Borough.Whilst the SOS acknowledged the proposal would result in the loss of a greenfield site, he was of the opinion that the proposal would relate well to the existing built form. Furthermore, the proposal would cause no harm to the setting of the nearby AONB, would not cause any harm to the TPOs and cause no harm to any distinctive or important features of the local landscape. The SOS confirmed that the provision of affordable housing was a benefit which should be afforded considerable weight in the planning balance.
Other issues raised by the Council related to highway matters. The SOS agreed with the Inspector’s findings that the proposed development would provide a safe and suitable access to the site and would be unlikely to compromise highway safety interests along Malborough Road.
In addition to the provision of 30% affordable housing, the permitted scheme also provided for a locally equipped area of play, landscaping and new access.
This approved scheme will help meet the growing demands for affordable housing within the Borough of Swindon.