Land Adjacent Folly Farm, Thornford Road, Yetminster
Yetminster is a high value village on the Somerset/Dorset border. In planning terms, the village is considered sustainable with a variety of services yet the West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland Local Plan considers it a location where only local need development is to be permitted within a tightly drawn development limit. Our clients controlled land adjoining the development limit with a capacity for some 90 dwellings and asked Boon Brown Planning to explore the potential for gaining planning permission.
At the time West Dorset District Council could not demonstrate a 5-year land supply and thus policies restricting development were largely redundant and it was adjudged that the principle was acceptable. Issues were considered to be scale in relation to the population size of the village, vehicular access and pedestrian permeability, setting of the adjoining conservation area, and community benefit.
Boon Brown Planning devised a strategy including an initial approach to the Parish Council which was received with suspicion and opposition along with a public consultation event which was similarly received. Whilst not an unusual reaction amongst rural councils and inhabitants Boon Brown Planning staff with their background of public planning nonetheless recognise the importance of community engagement to aid an understanding of issues and assist officers in demonstrating due process. Subsequent to consultation and promotion through the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment an application was prepared and submitted.
During the application process a “rival” site promoted by a large national planning and land firm was also submitted for permission. That application was only rival insomuch that it was apparent the village could not sustain a population increase subject of both applications.
The client’s application, despite Officer recommendation, was subsequently refused at Committee and an appeal immediately lodged along with an identical new application. The rival application was also refused at Committee and appealed immediately. Boon Brown Planning advised that a joint public inquiry be sought, in order that the two proposals could be evaluated against each other and this was accepted by the Planning Inspectorate. In the meantime, the second application was resolved to approve however the local MP sought the Secretary of States (SoS) call-in and thus the approval was delayed whilst the SoS office dealt with the request. One day before the Inquiry was due to commence the SoS declined to intervene and the Judicial Review period having expired the approval was deemed “safe” and Boon Brown Planning were able to withdraw from the Inquiry.
In all Boon Brown Planning had submitted two applications, fully prepared for a Joint Public Inquiry, defended a call-in request, safeguarded against Judicial Review and finally gained permission. A very satisfying result.