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Homes plan allowed on appeal leaves big bill for council

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

By GARETH BUTTERFIELD

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THE approval of a set of plans that will allow a housing development in a village near Ashbourne has left planners facing a bill.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council will now have to foot the bill after plans for the development, in Denstone Lane, Alton were given the green light on appeal.

The five four-bedroomed houses on land at the Alverton Hotel in Denstone Lane were originally refused by the authority last June.

Members of the district council’s planning committee had previously granted permission for a development on the site of 16 two-bedroomed houses in 2010 but took against the revised plans by the applicant on grounds of the principle of the development and character and appearance.

It is believed part of the reason why the council rejected the revised plans last year was that it did not meet with targets for increasing the range of available and affordable house types.

However the Planning Inspectorate, which was brought in to decide on the applicant’s appeal, felt that it was ‘unreasonable’ to refuse planning permission on that basis.

Inspector David Kaiserman said: “In the absence of any analysis which focuses on the local housing market and its practical significance for Alton in general and the appeal site in particular, it would be unreasonable to refuse planning permission on the grounds that the scheme did not contain an appropriate mix of dwellings.”

On the other issue raised by the district council in objecting to the plans – character and appearance – the inspector rejected the authority’s findings.

Mr Kaiserman said: “As far as the physical characteristics of the scheme are concerned, the council do not explain what they mean by their preference for a scheme which ‘incorporates local vernacular design, rural in character’, relating better to the open countryside.

“Apart from the fact that there is no specific policy basis for this position, I consider their objections to be too vague to be of any real value.”

Mr Kaiserman allowed the appeal and granted permission for the development.

He also ordered the district council to meet the appeal costs.

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