Council sees off ‘inappropriate’ housing for village
PUBLISHED: 14:23 06 November 2020 | UPDATED: 14:23 06 November 2020
East Cambridgeshire Council says its robust defence of its policies on new housing has seen off two developers wanting to build in Witchford.
“Over the past few months, we have successfully stood our ground against multiple inappropriate developments that had been proposed for the village,” said a council spokesperson.
The Government’s Planning Inspectorate rejected an appeal by Manor Oak Homes against the council’s refusal to allow 70 homes on land between 27 and 39 Sutton Road, Witchford.
Inspectors also ruled in the council’s favour by refusing to allow an appeal for housing on land north of 196-204 Main Street.
On Sutton Road the inspector agreed its conflicted with Witchford Neighbourhood Plan and the Local Plan and would harm the character and appearance of the landscape.
The inspector also confirmed that the council can demonstrate a five-year land supply, which means that the development envelopes, outside of which development cannot normally take place, are still in place.
The council says confirmation of a five-year land supply also resulted in another appeal being withdrawn on the Main Street site.
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Council leader Anna Bailey said: “In April we announced that we were once again about to demonstrate a five-year land supply.
“It meant from that point on, planning applications across the district, including those in Witchford, were able to be determined based on this position.
“As a council, we take our responsibility to support all communities within the district very seriously and our defence of this decision for Witchford, reaffirms this commitment.”
She said: “The council is proud of its ability to demonstrate a five-year land supply, and any further challenges to this status will be robustly defended by the council.”
In a further joint appeal relating to land south of Main Street, known locally as the Horse Field in Witchford, the council has challenged the decision made by the Planning Inspectorate in July. That order allowed the joint appeal from the developer for this site under Section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act.
The council spokesperson said that a consent order issued by the court on November 4 has confirmed that the Planning Inspectorate made an error in making their decision and therefore the appeal decisions have been quashed and will need to be redetermined.
Cllr Bailey added: “The council has already shown with Fordham, Sutton and many more parishes that we will support those communities who want to develop their own Neighbourhood Plan and this is another example of us challenging the Inspectorate and holding them to account.
“We are pleased that the courts have agreed with us and we will continue to stand up and defend the Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plans within our district when required.”
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