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Effingham Green Belt development given go ahead - Secretary of State planning appeal decision

3 minute read
Effingham Green Belt development given go ahead - Secretary of State planning appeal decision

Published at 1:24pm 27th March 2018.

Cllr Paul Spooner, Leader of Guildford Borough Council, says: "We have said for a long time how critical it is to have a Local Plan in place to provide a managed framework for development that balances needs across our borough. This outcome illustrates that without it, planning appeals by developers can lead to national decisions that also go against local neighbourhood plans and parishes as well as the Council's strategic plans."

The Secretary of State has agreed with the Planning Inspector's recommendations, and will allow the appeal by Berkeley Homes and the Howard Partnership Trust to develop in Green Belt in Effingham. This overturns the Council's Planning Committee's original refusal for permission and gives the go ahead for their scheme for 295 homes and a new school.

Cllr Spooner explains: "This is a disappointing decision for the Council in terms of impact on the Green Belt, however it will provide a new state of the art school. This site was not included in our submitted Local Plan, as we didn't consider it met the exceptional circumstances criteria for developing on Green Belt land. The Secretary of State did recognise that the harm to the Green Belt from inappropriate development carried substantial weight. However, he considered that providing affordable and market housing, alongside meeting the educational and social needs of a new school, outweigh any harm to the Green Belt or openness.

"Our urgent need for housing and affordable homes is well understood and addressed by other sites in our Local Plan. These follow our brownfield first policy for previously developed land and only includes greenfield land from our 89% of Green Belt for very exceptional circumstances. The hearings for our submitted plan are due to start on 5 June. If we had an approved Local Plan it would make it more difficult for planning permission to be given for sites in the Green Belt.

"We want the best final outcome possible and as with any appeal that doesn't support the Council's original decision, we will explore the options now available to us. We will also engage with Effingham Parish Council who are equally disappointed with the decision."

Planning timeline

  • Planning application submitted by Berkeley Homes (Southern) Limited on 17 October 2014. Hybrid planning application for full planning permission for 37 dwellings on Brown's Field and outline planning application for replacement and enlargement of Howard of Effingham secondary school and 258 dwellings on former Howard of Effingham school site and Lodge Farm.

  • The application was recommended for refusal and was considered and refused by the Council's Planning Committee on 9 March 2016.

  • The applicant's appeal was made to the Planning Inspectorate on 24 May 2016. The appeal was heard at a Public Inquiry between 16 May and 2 June 2017.

  • The appeal was 'recovered' by the Secretary of State, who has now made the final decision, taking into account the Inspector's report and recommendation.

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