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Victory in planning row... but for how long?
12:40pm Thursday 19th May 2011 in News
A VICTORY for residents against an unpopular housing plan could be short-lived as it is unlikely to deter developers from further applications.
As reported in the Adver yesterday, a proposal for 175 homes in Hook Street, near Lydiard Park, was thrown out at the appeal stage by a Government planning inspector.
But while many residents, including campaigners from Lydiard Fields Action Group (LFAG), might have breathed a sigh of relief after that news, it may not stop future applications.
In a statement from the developers’ agents DPDS, the message was clear that housebuilders will continue to apply to build on sites irrespective of Swindon Council’s designated development areas.
It read: “Primegate Properties (Hooknorth) Ltd is obviously extremely disappointed by the Inspector’s decision to dismiss the appeal concerning residential development on land north of Hook Street.
“He determined that the impacts of the proposal on the landscape character area and on external appreciation of the significance of the park boundary by the site.
“The inspector clearly refuted the council’s untenable arguments on five year housing land supply, as required by National Planning Policy.
“In this, he gave little weight to the intention to revoke the Regional Strategy or, until such time as it has been scrutinised through public examination, the borough housing provision in the latest Core Strategy document.
“The Inspector’s conclusion that there is not a five year supply of housing land in Swindon confirms that it is highly likely that applications will continue to be brought forward on this basis for individual determination by the Council on the basis of their suitability and environmental sustainability.
“Primegate Properties is now reviewing its options as to how it can respond positively to the decision, ranging from a revised proposal to legal challenge.”
Councillor Peter Greenhalgh (Freshbrook and Grange Park, Con), cabinet member for planning, said he hoped housebuilders would cooperate with the council.
He said: “I would hope developers will take heed of our Core Strategy, which is still out for consultation and has sites clearly defined, and they look to work with us rather than fight us every step of the way.”
A spokesman for Swindon Council said: “We’re pleased to have won this appeal, and it certainly reinforces our message to developers that we won’t roll over if we believe that a planning proposal is unacceptable.
“That said, all planning applications and appeals are dealt with on their individual merits, so it wouldn’t be true to say that this result will make life easier in future if we object to other proposals.
“They are all different in their own way, and we have to make sure our case is strong and well-prepared on every occasion.”
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