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Hooray! Hammond Ground countryside saved!

Thursday, 15 November 2018 13:55

Photo of site looking northwest from Whalley Road Photo of site looking northwest from Whalley Road

CPRE Lancashire is delighted that local residents and Ribble Valley Borough Council successfully convinced a Planning Inspector to dismiss an appeal by the Trustees of Hammond Ground against a refused planning application due to harm to the countryside.

CPRE Lancashire had written a letter of objection to the Council in July 2016 concerning the application (reference Ribble Valley Borough Council 3/2016/1192) for 50 dwellings on Hammond Ground due to harm that would result if the greenfield area outside the settlement boundary of the village of Read was approved, letter available to download below.  In April 2017 the Council’s Planning Committee refused the application. 

The developer challenged the refusal by appealing to the Planning Inspectorate (APP/T2350/W/17/3185445).  The appointed Inspector delayed the planning hearing to enable further ecological surveys and the publication of the revised National Planning Policy Framework in July 2018 (NPPF, 2018). 

The main issues cited were:

·         Whether the proposal would comply with the development plan strategy for new housing development in the countryside;

·         The effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the countryside, with particular regard to the setting of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Read village and any effects on ‘parkland’;

·         The effect of the proposal on the setting of nearby listed buildings; and

·         Whether there are material considerations sufficient to outweigh any conflict with the development plan and any other harm arising from the development.

The Council did successfully make the case that the development proposed was inappropriate in respect of a number of policies contained in the adopted Core Strategy 2008-2028, A Local Plan for Ribble Valley, December 2014. 

Both the Council and appellant submitted Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments, to help the Inspector better understand the most notable visual effects at the local level and immediately around the village.  The Inspector was not persuaded that the site was a ‘valued landscape’, although he did recognise harm, albeit not significant, to the Bowland Forest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Of importance is the Inspector referring to the NPPF, 2018 Paragraph 170, which sets out that decision makers should recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside. 

Furthermore, Read Hall is a Grade II* listed building situated to the West of the appeal site dating back to 1825, and based on a site visit the Inspector concluded some harm would result from the proposal. 

In weighing the planning and heritage balance, the Inspector found the application was in conflict with four local plan policies.  Despite the Council not being able to demonstrate a five year housing land supply, in the worst case presented by the appellant it only has 3.86 years, the Inspector concluded that the substantial harm to the character and appearance of the countryside, regardless of other harms, significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies of the Framework when taken as a whole.  The Inspectors decision note is available below. 

CPRE Lancashire applauds the Inspectors decision and praises local residents and officers of the Council for highlighting the harm that would have arisen to the intrinsic value of the countryside from the proposals. 

Jackie Copley, Planning Manager for CPRE Lancashire said

“We are pleased that the Inspector in this case supported local democracy to prevent a development that would have resulted in harm to the intrinsic value, character and appearance of countryside.  If the developer challenges the decision at a higher level CPRE Lancashire will retain its objection in order to best protect the countryside for the benefit of everyone in the future”. 

 

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