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Pressure for New Homes Trumps Countryside Policy

Published: 25 November 2014, in categories: Legal Updates | Residential Property Updates | News and Updates

The intense pressure for more new homes – particularly affordable ones – in the South-East of England trumped countryside protection policies as the High Court opened the way for construction of 400 new dwellings in Surrey’s leafy commuter belt.

In challenging planning consent for the controversial proposals, which was granted by Guildford Borough Council by a slim majority, the area’s parish council argued that such a large-scale project on an attractive rural site flew in the face of local restrictions on greenfield developments.

However, the Court rejected arguments that councillors had been misled by a planning officer’s report. The loss of open countryside had rightly been measured against the benefits of the scheme, including the provision of new homes in an area which had a ‘substantial and historic shortfall’ in housing land supply.

Four out of every ten of the new homes would be affordable, a greater proportion than required by planning policy. The proposals would also yield, amongst other benefits, improvements to transport and highway infrastructure, the provision of outdoor sports facilities for the local school, community allotments and improvements to the area’s library.

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