Published: Thursday, 21st January 2016
Two major housing schemes totalling up to 1,350 new homes proposed for sites off Europa Way in Warwick have been allowed on appeal by Communities Secretary Greg Clark.
Both were recovered cases following Warwick District Council’s rejection of the developments.
In the case of the larger outline proposal which involved up to 900 dwellings by developer Barwwod Strategic Land, Clark’s determination went against the recommendation of the planning inspector who held the planning inquiry.
In respect of the latter scheme Clark acknowledged that it posed substantial harm to the established character and appearance of the area and would result in the loss of 50-hectares of high quality and versatile agricultural land. It was also contrary to the emerging neighbourhood plan as well as the approved local plan.
However Clark said the drawbacks of the proposals were outweighed by the benefits of the new housing, 40 per cent of which would be affordable in a town where there was a lack adequate housing land. He also argued that plans for a park and ride scheme and the economic and job benefits of the scheme weighed heavily in its favour.
He disagreed strongly over the inspector’s position on whether the scheme conflicted with the economic dimension of sustainability as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
In respect of the appeal involving Gallagher Estates’ outline proposal for a 450-home scheme the Secretary of State acknowledged there was conflict with both landscape and heritage policies in the adopted local plan.
He also agreed that it would mean the loss of high quality and versatile farm land. However the SoS concluded those drawbacks were outweighed by the housing, the provision of significant new green infrastructure and, potentially, both biodiversity and social benefits.