The appeal hearing has now closed and we have submitted our final closing statement.
The application for 120 dwellings was originally refused by High Peak’s Development Management Committee in line with officer recommendation, on the grounds that it would cause an unacceptable intrusion of built environment into open countryside. This conclusion was informed by a site assessment and public consultation, with reference to an illustrative masterplan.
Instead of seeking to directly address the reasons for refusal, the appellant has tried to:
- Re-open and challenge the established evidence that informed Local Plan policies, thereby seeking to reduce the weight attributable to them when determining the appeal
- Suggest that intrusion into the countryside is inevitable and justifiable
- Downplay the value of the landscape that would be harmed, suggesting if land is not within the boundary of a National Park, or other landscape designation then it cannot be considered a “Valued Landscape”.
The keystone of our submission is that a proposal for major development (recently revised to 100 dwellings) on an unallocated site outside the settlement boundary must actively demonstrate that it would constitute sustainable development.
This sets, in effect, a more stringent test for proposals on unallocated sites than allocated ones, because the principle that allocated sites can deliver sustainable development is embedded in their allocation.
Instead of seeking to pass this test, we contend that the appellant has merely submitted evidence which attempts to lower the bar. It remains our strongly held position that the appeal scheme does not constitute sustainable development when considered against both the adopted Local Plan and against NPPF policies. We have therefore asked the Inspector to dismiss the appeal and refuse planning permission.
- Building more homes in an area that is not pedestrian-friendly, and is not well served by public transport, will reinforce car-dependency
- Urban sprawl happens incrementally, as each new site is justified by its abutting the previous one;
We worked with many local communities, so we know that, if the site were to be developed, the new householders would be warmly welcomed into the community. It is deeply wrong to characterise local people who seek to protect the environmental and landscape qualities of the area they hold dear, for themselves and for future residents, as being opposed to the provision of homes for those who need them and who aspire to Buxton’s quality of life.
The growth that Buxton aspires to between now and 2031, and the sites for large developments needed to accommodate that growth, are set out in the adopted Local Plan.
To download the full submission, click here.