Dear AllI am delighted to inform you that the appeal against the refusal of planning permission at Linford Lakes has failed and the appeal has been rejected.I have copied the Planning Inspector’s summary below – but in short he has found that although MK Council have failed to demonstrate a 5 year housing supply, in this case the considerations of Landscape and Ecology (Biodiversity) outweigh the National Planning Policy Framework’s presumption in favour of development.I believe this decision has been significantly influenced by the evidence and submissions of those who attended the enquiry and spoke against the appeal and all those who wrote in to oppose the appeal on grounds of ecology.It is a tremendous validation of the power of persuasion by people who truly deeply care about our environment and local resources.I congratulate all of you who took the time and effort to get involved.Tony BedfordChair FoLLNR
Compliance with the development plan
- The appeal proposal would conflict with MKLP Policy S10 by being located in the countryside. It would also conflict with Policy S11 by failing to protect or enhance the Area of Attractive Landscape, and with Policy NE1 by adversely affecting the Wildlife Corridor’s biodiversity.
- In relation to Policies S12 and KS3, the scheme would to some extent advance the aims of those policies in respect of public access to the Ouse Valley Linear Park and Linford Lakes areas. But it would conflict with S12’s requirements as to landscape and nature conservation matters.
- Looking at all of these relevant policies together, I find that the appeal proposal is in clear conflict with the development plan as a whole.
Other material considerations
98. The Council has been unable to demonstrate a 5-year supply of land for housing, and the development plan is silent as to how this shortfall is to be made up. Consequently, even though none of the policies directly affecting the appeal site are concerned with housing, the ‘tilted balance’ in NPPF paragraph 14 is engaged.
- On the positive side, the appeal proposal would provide 250 dwellings towards the Borough’s housing shortfall, and 30 per cent of these would be for affordable housing. In the light of the evidence, these dwellings are required to meet housing needs that would otherwise be unmet, and this carries significant weight. The economic benefits carry moderate weight. For the reasons already explained, the provision of public access to the ‘blue’ land also carries moderate weight; but any proposed landscaping or new habitat creation, either on- or off-site, would be essentially mitigatory or compensatory, and these therefore carry no more than neutral weight.
- But on the other hand, the development would intrude into the countryside, and into a designated AAL and Wildlife Corridor. It would cause substantial and irreversible harm to the Ouse Valley’s valued landscape. It wouldpermanently destroy priority habitats, threaten important wildlife, and weaken ecological networks. It would also take 15 ha of land from the Linear Park, reducing the scope for informal and passive recreation uses in the future.
- Cumulatively, it seems to me that these adverse impacts would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits that have been identified. The scheme therefore does not benefit from the NPPF’s presumption in favour of sustainable development.
102. Having regard to the requirements of section 38(6) of the 1990 Act, these other material considerations do not indicate a decision contrary to the development plan. I have taken account of all the other matters raised, but none changes this conclusion. The appeal therefore fails.
Many thanks to the Friends of Linford Lakes for allowing us to publish these details.