Turley planning appeal success for Gleeson Developments

Planning consultancy Turley, acting for Gleeson Developments, has secured a significant appeal decision that will see 140 new homes and an extension to a municipal park in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.

The scheme was recommended for approval by East Staffordshire Borough Council in March 2014, yet was refused by its Planning Committee leading to a three-day public inquiry in December 2014. The planning inspector delivered his decision at the end of January 2015.

The Uttoxeter scheme will deliver high quality homes in a design-led scheme from the masterplanning team at Turley. The scheme will integrate with the adjacent park by extending open space into the site.

John Acres at Turley, who led the appeal on behalf of Gleeson Developments, said: “The decision comes at a time when Uttoxeter is really taking off. Last year JCB announced it was creating 2,500 new jobs in the area boosting the need for new homes in the town. Since then, consent has been granted for a new Waitrose store and a new leisure centre has just opened its doors to the public. The A50 skirting the town to the north is about to be upgraded, creating a faster and more reliable east/west route from Derby to Stoke (linking the M1 to the M6), all of which make a big difference to the services and facilities in the town. This appeal decision is the right decision.”

Scott Chamberlin, director at Gleesons said: “We are delighted that the Inspector allowed our appeal and granted planning approval for the much needed housing for the town. The application was supported by the professional officers of the Council and it was unfortunate that we had to resort to an appeal. We remain fully committed to working with the local community to ensure a quality development is delivered and are keen to co-operate with the Council and the Friends of Bramshall Road Park in upgrading the recreational facilities for local people.”

East Staffordshire Borough Council withdrew two of the three reasons for refusal prior to the appeal (relating to the site being outside the Uttoxeter development boundary and also prematurity), and acknowledged that it only had a 3.9 year housing land supply against a statutory five year requirement. The East Staffordshire Local Plan EIP had only recently been suspended (November 2014) due in part to a shortfall in deliverable sites in the Borough. The inspector concluded that the existing housing policies were out of date and that very little weight could be attributed to the housing supply policies in the emerging Plan.

The appeal focused on landscape issues (the third reason for refusal), which were found to be less sensitive than elsewhere around Uttoxeter, and on the extent to which the scheme conformed to the design policies in the adopted Plan. The Rule 6 Party, (a local conservation group, funded by a near neighbour), also challenged the application on a third point - whether the cumulative impact of the scheme on the Cannock Chase Special Area of Conservation, 15 km away, had been adequately addressed, although this point was dismissed by the Inspector.

The Appeal Inspector drew attention to the positive benefits of the scheme in his report when he said: “The proposed development would assist in addressing both the shortfall in housing land supply within the Borough as well as contributing towards meeting the needs of those who are unable to access the local housing market. It would also add to the mix and choice of housing within an area where much economic growth is expected.”

He summed up the position in his conclusions by saying: “The proposal would (therefore) contribute to the achievement of sustainable development and permission should not be withheld. Not releasing this site for housing would not only further delay the provision of necessary housing but also run the risk of development taking place on more sensitive sites elsewhere at Uttoxeter.”

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