Over the past few months East Cambridgeshire District Council has successfully stood its ground against multiple inappropriate developments that had been proposed for the village of Witchford.
The first appeal, which was made by the developer for the land between 27 and 39 Sutton Road, Witchford, was robustly defended by the Council and subsequently dismissed by the Planning Inspector, for conflicting with ‘the locational policies in the Witchford Neighbourhood Plan and the Local Plan and leads to harm to the landscape character and appearance’.
As part of the report, the Inspector also confirmed that the Council is able to demonstrate a five-year land supply, which means that the development envelopes, outside of which development cannot normally take place, are still in place.
The Council’s success and confirmation of a five-year land supply has also resulted in another appeal being withdrawn by the appellants from the village for land North of 196-204 Main Street.
Councillor Anna Bailey, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “In April 2020, the Council announced that we were once again about to demonstrate a five-year land supply meaning from that point on, planning applications across the district, including those in Witchford, were able to be determined based on this position.
“As a Council, we take our responsibility to support all communities within the district very seriously and our defense of this decision for Witchford, reaffirms this commitment.
“The Council is proud of its ability to demonstrate a five-year land supply, and any further challenges to this status will be robustly defended by the Council.”
In a further joint appeal relating to land south of Main Street, known locally as the Horse Field in Witchford, the Council has challenged the decision made by the Planning Inspectorate in July, which allowed the joint appeal from the developer for this site under Section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act.
The Consent Order issued by the court on 4th November has confirmed that the Planning Inspectorate made an error in making their decision and therefore the appeal decisions have been quashed and will need to be redetermined.
Councillor Anna Bailey added: “The Council has already shown with Fordham, Sutton and many more parishes that we will support those communities who want to develop their own Neighbourhood Plan and this is another example of us challenging the Inspectorate and holding them to account.
“We are pleased that the Courts have agreed with us and we will continue to stand up and defend the Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plans within our district when required.”