Minister steps in to see off planning appeal

Communities secretary Eric Pickles
Communities secretary Eric Pickles
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Townspeople are celebrating, after intervention from a top government minister saw a planning appeal dismissed .

The Secretary of State for communities and local government, Eric Pickles, stepped in to overrule a planning inspector in a Winslow planning dispute – thanks to the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan.

Winslow residents at a public exhibition ove Gladman's Verney Road plans in April 2013

Winslow residents at a public exhibition ove Gladman's Verney Road plans in April 2013

Speculative developer Gladman went to appeal after Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) refused planning permission for an 211-home estate on land off Verney Road.

Planning inspector Clive Sproule recommended that Gladman’s Appeal be upheld.

But the Secretary of State last week overruled the inspector’s recommendation, dismissing the appeal and refusing planning permission.

Mr Pickles accepted a number of the points made by the inspector – not least that the absence of a valid Local Plan from AVDC means that there is no five-year housing land supply.

But he placed considerable weight on the fact that the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan has been made and the ‘spatial strategy’ encapsulated by the Winslow Settlement Boundary (WSB).

The Winslow Neighbourhood Plan was made in September, following an overwhelming 98 per cent ‘Yes’ vote from townspeople at public referendum in July.

He placed “very substantial negative weight on the conflict between the appeal proposal and the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan”.

And he concluded that “there are no material circumstances that indicate the proposal should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan”.

Town councillor Llew Monger said: “It’s a great result for us, particularly in light of the Secretary of State supporting the concept of the Winslow Settlement Boundary.

“The Winslow Neighbourhood Plan provides for substantial housing growth over the next 20 years, on sites which are supported by the community.

“The plan makes provision for 455 new homes in Winslow, on top of the 200 that already had planning permission.

“We’re not in any way trying to prevent development at Winslow, just to make sure it’s where the community will support it and to ensure this includes affordable homes for local people.”

A decision is still outstanding on another planning appeal by Gladmam, over an application for 100 homes on land at Shipton – which is also outside the Winslow Settlement Boundary.

A Judicial Review of the plan-making process for the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan is due to be heard at London’s High Court on December 11 and 12.