Shropshire Council planning officers refused to grant planning permission for eight homes in Norton in Hales last year, on the grounds that the village is classed as ‘open countryside’ under the council’s current development plan.
This was despite overwhelming support for the plans from the parish council and 22 neighbouring residents, who said they wanted to see the site, which they described as an “eyesore” and “wasteland”, tidied up.
The applicant, Mr G James, appealed to the Planning Inspectorate which has now overturned the council’s decision and granted approval.
A report by planning inspector Thomas Hatfield said: “In terms of accessibility to services and facilities, the village contains a primary school, a public house, a church, a village hall, and leisure and sporting facilities.
“There is also a community bus service, although services are relatively infrequent.
“The village therefore has reasonable accessibility to services and facilities given its size and rural location.
“Notwithstanding this, the development is contrary to the locational requirements of the development plan.”
Norton in Hales is set to be promoted to ‘community cluster’ status – which comes with an expectation of modest housing growth – under the council’s new local plan, but Mr Hatfield said he could only give this “limited weight” as the plan is not expected to be adopted until next year.
However, he concluded that the benefits of the scheme outweighed the conflict with the current development plan.
The report said: “The development proposes eight single-storey bungalows, which are likely to be attractive to retirees and older residents.
“The planning obligation would also secure an affordable dwelling within the scheme, as well as a financial contribution to affordable housing provision offsite.
“The type of units proposed, and the affordable housing contribution, are clear benefits of the development.”
The report added that the site was “surrounded by existing buildings” and the development would have “little effect on the rural character of its surroundings”.
Accessed off Main Road, the site is near the southern edge of the village between the new Pear Tree Croft development to the north and the Norton Farm barn conversions to the south.
Mr Hatfield concluded: “Overall, there is conflict with the locational requirements of the development plan, but no other harm would arise. Moreover, a number of benefits would be delivered.
“In my view, the conflict with the development plan would therefore be outweighed by other material considerations in this case.
“For the reasons given above I conclude that the appeal should be allowed.”