Disappointment in Shirland
The almost two-year effort to save a greenfield site on Hallfieldgate Lane in Shirland from inappropriate development goes on as the developers win their appeal.
Developers have just won their appeal against North East Derbyshire District Council’s decision to turn down an application for 90 houses in open countryside.
CPRE Derbyshire objected to the original application for 120 houses in April 2019, and then again to a revised application for 90 houses in November 2020. The council agreed with our view, and those of local residents, that the policies in the approved Local Plan and in the new plan (which is at the very last stage of adoption) point clearly in the direction of refusal. Kevin Bush, local resident and CPRE member, said in his submission to the appeal:
“Just because there was a gap in the effective period of the previous plan and the implementation of the new one cannot mean that we are left completely at the mercy of speculative development.
The housing supply estimates for Shirland have already been met and exceeded for the life of the new plan. Permissions have already been granted on sites allocated for Shirland in the draft local plan for around 130 new houses. Another 90 here would lead to a near 70% oversupply of housing against the projected need
According to current national planning policy and the new local plan, developments that cause significant harm to the open character of the landscape, a loss of amenity or which form a prominent intrusion into open countryside should not be permitted.”
We agree with Kevin’s points, and are disappointed and shocked that the Planning Inspector who heard the appeal, has chosen to give such little weight to the new plan and the landscape protection it provides, nor to the fact that the district has no shortfall in its five year housing supply.
It is bewildering that the Inspector chose to allow the appeal, despite the fact that her own Inspectorate previously rejected this site for inclusion in the new plan, after a lengthy consultation process.
She ruled that the harms to the landscape and amenity are outweighed by the benefits to the economy of the development and its contribution to affordable housing targets. The development will provide 20% affordable housing (a mere 18 units), but we cannot agree that this small number can possibly justify this level of intrusion into open countryside.
It is not over yet! Local residents are calling on the council to apply for a judicial review of the appeal decision, a move to which the CPRE will be glad to lend its full support.
This case is a stark reminder that any district without an approved Local Plan (currently including Amber Valley as well as NEDDC), no matter how near the new plan may be to approval, is vulnerable to this kind of greenfield land-grab, despite the well argued objections of local people.