Swithland Homes, a client of ours, approached us at the start of 2016 about the possibility of gaining planning approval for a residential development on a parcel of land in the village of Woodhouse in Leicestershire.
We knew obtaining planning consent on this site would be difficult, as Woodhouse is not classified as a sustainable location due to its lack of facilities.
The site also abuts the Forest Road conservation area and lies adjacent to several listed buildings.
We sought pre-application advice for eight dwellings, which listed many positives, but the advice confirmed that the unsustainable nature of the site would weigh heavily against any proposed development. We also received comments about the density and appearance of the development.
At the time, the Council could not achieve a five-year supply of housing land, so we made an application for five dwellings in the local architectural style, which is shown below.
During the application, the Council decided they could now achieve the numbers, so it was thought beneficial to withdraw the application.
After the withdrawal of the application, the local authorities in Leicester and Leicestershire commissioned a new document called the Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment (HEDNA), which was produced to assess future housing needs.
Following the publication of HEDNA, we decided to submit a new scheme for an improved mix of dwellings including two-, three- and four-bedroom homes.
We made an application for nine dwellings, again in the local style (see below). At the time of the application’s submission, the Council were back in a position where they could not achieve a five-year supply of housing land.
This application was refused on sustainability grounds, which was a surprise to all involved as the Council could not achieve their housing figures.
Due to the complex nature of this planning application, early on we had advised our clients to appoint planning consultants Trigpoint Conservation and Planning.
Trigpoint took this application to a planning appeal which was subsequently allowed, with the Inspector confirming that the adverse impacts of the development scheme fell short of its significant benefits, stating that the design of the proposals would complement the area.
Overall this was a fantastic planning approval achieved on a problematic site, in the face of two refusals. However, the design of the scheme helped to win over the Planning Inspector, and the finished product will be of high quality in a very desirable area.