Potton developers win planning appeal against council

Developers have won an appeal over planning permission for housing in Potton. File photo. Credit: Ge

Developers have won an appeal over planning permission for housing in Potton. File photo. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Potton is now set to gain almost 400 homes after developers yesterday won an appeal over permission to build a new estate.

Central Beds Council last year refused permission for Gladman Developments to build 85 homes on the southern edge of the town.

But Gladman announced an appeal in June – and yesterday a government-appointed inspector decided in the developers’ favour.

Potton now has 389 new houses approved for development or already under construction.

Potton councillor Adam Zerny, who sits as an independent on Central Beds Council, was among those who fought against the Gladman application for the site west of Biggleswade Road.

He told the Comet today: “This is clear over-development. Potton now has nearly 400 houses being built or approved for building.

“The decision beggars belief and I hope Central Beds fights it.”

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Inspector Cullum Parker’s decision was based on an inquiry held from November 7 to 10, including a visit to the site.

He concluded that public benefits including helping to meet the unmet housing needs of Luton and the wider area meant there was “no justification in this case for withholding permission”.

The site would, Mr Parker wrote in his report, “appear as a logical extension to the settlement, which would provide a gentle merging of the landscape between the southern edge of Potton and that found at the golf course to the south, whilst still retaining a sense of rural fringe.”

He said that impact on the site’s character and appearance would be “extremely localised and well-screened so as to lessen its visual impact from further afield”.

Some 35 per cent of the homes will be designated as affordable housing, and Gladman has unilaterally pledged section 106 funds towards projects including a community hall, schooling, healthcare and a skate park.

Gladman must submit details of the scheme including its layout and scale to Central Beds Council before construction can begin.

The inspector has also imposed conditions including that there must be protection against the smell from the nearby sewage works, and that planners must approve a construction plan.

In his report, Mr Parker found that the council was able to demonstrate a supply of deliverable housing sites in excess of five years – with a trajectory of 9,862 new homes against a need for at least 8,400.

Central Beds Council’s development deputy chief Andrew Davie told the Comet: “We are disappointed that the inspector has not found in favour of the council, in this instance by concluding that there would be no harm to the countryside through the change in the character and appearance of the appeal site.

“However, we very much welcome the conclusions reached by the inspector that the council can demonstrate a supply of deliverable housing sites in excess of five years, and that the existing council’s core strategy can be used to support planning decisions – although the weight to be attributed to the policies varies.

“The development of the new Local Plan will bring the council’s policies in line with the National Planning Policy Framework and therefore strengthens the planning policy framework within the authority.”