If there is no 5 year housing supply then the NPPF’s presumption in favour of sustainable development applies.  To help the assessment as to whether a site comprises a sustainable location for a development a list of guideline criteria was developed as a good rule of thumb.

The guide shows the recommended distances to local amenities which developments should aspire to achieve and the results are used as a guide as to whether the development is addressing sustainability issues.

The table below compares sites in Goostrey to the site in Sandbach, initially refused but approved on Appeal, based on CE’s assessment of what makes a site sustainable.

Sustainability comparison
Sustainability comparison


The NPPF includes the following on sustainability:

“All plans should be based upon and contain the presumption in favour of sustainable development as their starting point, with clear policies that will guide how the presumption will be applied locally.

There are three dimensions to sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. These dimensions give rise to the need for the planning system to perform a number of roles:


  • an economic role – contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth and innovation; and by identifying and coordinating development requirements, including the provision of infrastructure;


  • a social role – supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by creating a high quality built environment, with accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being; and


  • an environmental role – contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment; and, as part of this, helping to improve biodiversity, use natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy.

And in regard to rural communities such as Goostrey:

·         support the sustainable growth and expansion of all types of business and enterprise in rural areas, both through conversion of existing buildings and well designed new buildings;

·         promote the development and diversification of agricultural and other land-based rural businesses;

·         support sustainable rural tourism and leisure developments that benefit businesses in rural areas, communities and visitors, and which respect the character of the countryside. This should include supporting the provision and expansion of tourist and visitor facilities in appropriate locations where identified needs are not met by existing facilities in rural service centres; and

·         promote the retention and development of local services and community facilities in villages, such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues (including livery stables), cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship


Planning practice guidance: Achieving sustainable development, Supporting a prosperous rural economy

Elworth Hall Farm action Group:



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  1. Reply

    They ALL failed on the Bank/Cash machine, the Hermitage proposal quote the Trading Post as having one – it was removed over 6 months ago due to lack of use!

  2. Reply

    Yes true, although they do have a ‘cashback’ facility.

    The key message is although the NPPF uses the term ‘sustainable’ to make development sound green and friendly, what it actually means is development will be permitted anywhere near existing communities with access to walking, cycling, bus or rail routes, and where land is available and there is a developer keen to build it!! Therefore the ‘sustainable’ test where a council can’t demonstrate a 5 year housing supply doesn’t mean anything… apart from where it can be demonstrated to cause unacceptable harm. In Goostrey’s case the harm is not only to the beauty of the countryside but also to Jodrell Bank’s research. Its going to be a tough battle…

  3. Reply

    Of course the obvious argument is then how can development which harms the efficient operation of the Lovell Telescope be described as ‘sustainable’. It can’t and it isn’t!!

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