BUT…. an earlier similar decision challenged

High Court critical of Pickles’ approach to neighbourhood planning appeal

The High Court has allowed an appeal against the decision of outgoing communities secretary Eric Pickles to block a 120-home development in a West Sussex village after Pickles was found to have placed too much weight on the policies of an emerging neighbourhood plan and failed properly to justify his decision in line with government planning policy.

A planning expert has said the decision provides valuable guidance on the correct procedure for making decisions affecting neighbourhood plans..

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Clark refuses 200 homes due to Neighbourhood Plan conflict

Interesting that Greg Clark has gone against a Planning Inspector’s recommendation and refused 200 houses at appeal in an area without a 5 yr housing supply …. citing conflict with a neighbourhood plan. (Although the developer is looking to challenge the result.)

Planning Resource, Dec 2015:

The communities secretary has refused an application for 200 homes on a site at Lydney in Gloucestershire, against an inspector’s recommendation of approval, after he concluded that, amongst other factors weighing against the proposal, the development would be in conflict with a neighbourhood plan.

Forest of Dean District Council had refused outline planning permission for the scheme which would have delivered up to 200 homes, including up to 20 serviced self-build plots, and up to 37 retirement apartments and a community building.

Following an appeal and an inspector’s subsequent recommendation of approval, the application was recovered by Greg Clark because the appeal involved a potential conflict with a neighbourhood plan.

A decision letter issued this week said that Clark considered that the council’s lack of a five-year housing land supply “and the contributions that the appeal proposal would make to increasing the supply of market and affordable housing weigh substantively in favour of the appeal”.

“Also weighing in favour of the appeal are the social, economic and environmental benefits identified by the Inspector”, the letter said.

But the letter went on to say that “weighing against the appeal … is the conflict with the emerging [site allocations document] and emerging Lydney Neighbourhood Development Plan (LNDP), to which he gives moderate weight; and the adverse impact on landscape and character to which he also gives moderate weight. He also gives limited weight to traffic impacts and the adverse effect upon air quality…”

Overall, the letter said that Clark considered “that the adverse impacts of the appeal proposal would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework taken as a whole”.

It continued: “He therefore concludes that that there are no material considerations that indicate that the proposal should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan.”

A statement issued by consultancy Hunter Page Planning, which acted on behalf of the appellant Allaston Developments, said that the developer “is now looking at challenging the secretary of state’s decision on the grounds that he has relied on the wrong policies.”
“Clearly this will lead to further delays in the delivery of sustainable new homes in the Forest”, it added.

Holly from the Bongs on Christmas Day

Alan Garner’s “Bringing Holly from the Bongs” will be broadcast on Christmas Day on digital BBC Radio 4 Extra [Sky 0131, Freeview 708] at 6.30am, 1.30pm, and 8.30pm and on Boxing Day at 1.30am.

Goostrey Primary School pupils head to perform the plan

Goostrey Primary School pupils head to perform the plan

Knutsford Guardian ..

A NATIVITY play written for the children of Goostrey 50 years ago by the famous author Alan Garner will be the subject of a radio documentary to be broadcast on Christmas Day.

Bringing Holly from the Bongs, which was first performed in 1965 by the children of Goostrey School, will be recognised and celebrated on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

The radio producer, Andy Cartwright, interviewed members of the original cast who attended the 50th anniversary celebration at the Crown in Goostrey in November, and recorded others who had been involved behind the scenes including Margaret Kettle, now aged 93; Ruth Hough, now aged 100; and the mere 81-year-old Alan Garner, who wrote a book about the extraordinary educational experience of creating the play.

Some of the present children at Goostrey Community Primary School, who performed a concert version of the play at their junior carol service in Goostrey church, will also feature in the programme.


“Goostrey has certainly changed in 50 years,” said Griselda Garner from the Blackden Trust who helped to organise this year’s recording.

“Back then there were only 28 children in Years 5 and 6, all of them performing to an audience sitting on bales of straw in the wet and windy stables of the Crown Inn in 1965. This December 120 children performed to an audience comfortably seated in the warmth of the beautiful Goostrey church.

“It will be interesting to hear about the legacy of the play. The book is now a rare classic, much treasured by those who have a copy.”

High percentage of questionnaires returned

It’s good to hear that 79% of all households in Goostrey Parish returned at least one questionnaire, with 99% of ‘Goostrians’ who expressed an opinion supporting the creation of a Goostrey Parish Neighbourhood Plan.  All the responses are now being reviewed by the NP team and, combined with other evidence, will form the basis of draft Neighbourhood Plan policies for the village.

It’s nice to know so many people care about the village.

P.S. News of the winners of the Draws to follow asap.

Betts launches ‘quick’ inquiry into NPPF changes

Planning Resources 16th Dec:  MPs on the communities and local government select committee are to run a quick-turnaround inquiry on the government’s controversial proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), its chair Clive Betts has announced.

Betts said the probe would examine not only the details of ministers’ planned changes to the NPPF – which include a new housing delivery test and a redefinition of affordable housing, but also question why the government had chosen to consult on the proposals over Christmas with a narrow window for responses.

Betts has already written to communities secretary Greg Clark, calling on him to extend the 25 January deadline for the consultation, voicing concern that it does not provide an acceptable window for public debate. No announcement has yet been made about whether the request has been granted.

“The government’s consultation represents the first changes to the NPPF,” Betts said.

“As a committee, we want to examine the proposed changes to the green belt, the definition of affordable housing, and the impact on local decision-making from proposed measures such as the housing delivery test. Decisions about local development should be taken at local level – this short inquiry will be examining whether the government’s proposals damage this principle.

“We also want to explore why the government’s deadline for replies to the consultation is so short, leaving us little time for our inquiry, and potentially insufficient time for many interested parties to reply to the government and provide evidence to ourselves.”

The select committee said it would be taking written submissions of evidence for its inquiry until 11 January. The consultation document can be seen here.