Planning inspector rejects plan for homes 'not within village'

A planning inspector has ruled against proposals to build three houses on land at the edge of a Shropshire village.

Birchmoor Lane, near Edgmon,d where plans have been refused for three houses. Picture: Google Maps.
Birchmoor Lane, near Edgmon,d where plans have been refused for three houses. Picture: Google Maps.

An outline planning application was submitted last year for three houses to be built off Birchmoor Lane, near Edgmond.

The applicant claimed that the detached houses would be a ‘discrete and well-contained infill site’ built between two existing houses.

Telford & Wrekin Council rejected the plans in December last year, saying the development was ‘unacceptable in principle’ as it did not fall within the Edgmond boundary.

The council’s Local Plan 2011-2031 does not include maps or define settlement or development boundaries.

The council added that the scheme did not meet the ‘requirements of any of the rural exception schemes’.

The applicant appealed the decision arguing that the site was on the western edge of the village and within a 15-minute walk of St Peter’s Church of England Controlled Primary School and the Post Office.

“It is the appellants’ strong contention that the site demonstrably falls within the village of Edgmond,” the applicant added.

“The site is sustainably located within easy walking distance of the services and facilities within Edgmond.

“The proposals will meet the economic objective, providing new homes in the right place with Edgmond identified as a designated location to meet housing need, and the scheme will bring economic benefits through supporting services and facilities, as well as the construction of the new properties themselves.

“It is a matter of judgement as to whether a development is ‘within the settlement'.”

Arguing its case, the council said the application site did not fall within the ‘built-up development boundary’ of Edgmond.

The council added: “Whilst the appellant has argued that the proposal will help to meet the rural housing requirement for 1,000 new homes, it is highlighted that this would be the case for every residential scheme proposed within the borough – this does not mean that the application should be approved if it does not comply with the other relevant policies.”

Planning inspector Ben Plenty sided with the council and refused the outline planning application.

Mr Plenty found that the planned site would be ‘significantly beyond’ the western edge of Edgmond and away from its main cluster of buildings.

“The adjacent properties are outlier dwellings, separated from the main village, within an area with a dispersed settlement pattern,” found the inspector.

“Therefore, the site has a tenuous visual and functional link to the main cluster of village buildings.”

He also highlighted that Birchmoor Lane is a narrow, single-track lane that has ‘no apparent passing points’, streetlights or footways due to its rural setting.

Mr Plenty added that the council’s framework seeks to ‘significantly boost the supply of housing’.

However, he added that three more homes would provide ‘only a minor gain’ to the supply of housing in the borough.

“Whilst the site is within an area deemed suitable for rural housing, it is not within the village,” he added.

“Being within the open countryside, the proposal would relate poorly to the surrounding built-up area.

“Consequently, the limited benefits delivered by the proposed housing would be of insufficient magnitude to outweigh the objectives of the council’s spatial housing strategy.

“The proposal would conflict with the development plan as a whole and there are no other considerations, including the provisions of the framework, which outweigh this finding."

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