When granting outline planning permission for a development in the North East of England, an inspector wrote that the need for more housing and other, related, benefits outweighed any residual harm and conflict with the existing development plan.
After assessing the proposed development, which would consist of seven self-build homes, the Inspector recorded that the primary problems were its effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area, archaeological deposits and biodiversity, and whether it would be a sustainable type of development when national and department plan policies regarding supply of housing land are taken into account.
Concerning the latter, the Inspector wrote that the local council could not demonstrate the existence of a five-year supply of viable housing land.
He also conceded that removing a dry stone wall and existing hedgerow to support the creation of a footpath and widening of a road would have an adverse impact on the area’s rural character. While the landscaping scheme that has been proposed would replace the removed green space with a roadside verge, the mitigation would not completely compensate for the destruction of the wall and hedge. This would create a degree of conflict with a saved local plan policy.
From the evidence submitted, however, the inspector could not conclude that the hedgerow was of high importance from an ecological or biodiversity perspective. Planning condition could also address archaeological concerns.