To speed up the delivery of housing the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) stipulates planning authorities should have a rolling 5 Year Housing Land Supply (5YHLS). The consequences for local authorities without a 5YHLS or an approved Local Plan is existing policies become out of date. Plans for new housing must be approved if they provide sustainable development but local authorities lose control of where the new housing is located. Central Bedfordshire Council would normally refuse planning permission if new development was at inappropriate locations, for example, outside existing settlement envelopes.

In Central Bedfordshire developers are appealing refusal of planning permission on the grounds Central Bedfordshire Council does not have a 5YHLS. To prevent the need to defend appeals the Executive member for Regeneration is intervening into the decision taking process of the Council’s Development Management Committee. Telling the Committee to approve housing development that does not accord with the Council’s current policy DM4: Development Within and Beyond Settlement Envelopes as the Council otherwise the Council would lose costly appeals because it did not have a 5YHLS.

Losing an appeal because a local authority has not got a 5YHLS is not inevitable. A recent court of Appeal Judgement; the ‘Hopkins Judgement’ cited below means Council’s without a 5YHLS can use current policy relating to the preferred locations of development to refuse planning permission.

The following is a representation from CPRE Bedfordshire to the Planning Inspectorate who will be hearing an appeal against Central Bedfordshire Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for housing at Cranfield. The representation and its supporting appendices show how in this particular case the Hopkin’s judgement can be used to defend a planning appeal.

APP/P0240/W/16/3164336 Land between Crawley Road and Bourne End Road Cranfield

CPRE Bedfordshire base this objection on the appellant’s submission to the Council (appendix-1) downloaded from the Council’s website on 25th January 2017.

The appellant justifies its appeal against the Council’s reasons for refusing planning permission by citing the Council’s 5 year Housing Land Supply statement 1st October 2016 (appendix-2). The statement shows the Council has a 4.89 year housing land supply. The appellant claims the Council’s policy DM4: Development Within and Beyond Settlement Envelopes is out of date by citing NPPF paragraph 49.

The appellant further justifies its appeal by citing NPPF paragraph 14. The appellant argues because the Council does not have a 5 year Housing Land Supply there is currently a shortfall in housing need of 211 dwellings across the whole of Central Bedfordshire and its development proposal provides benefit by meeting this shortfall without any significant adverse impact.

CPRE Bedfordshire argue the Council’s policy can be given weight, there is not a shortfall in housing need specifically in Cranfield and the location of the development proposal does have a significant adverse impact.

CPRE Bedfordshire justify the Council’s policy is not out date by citing the content of a planning appeal for up to 30 dwellings at Brook Farm, 94 High Street, Wrestlingworth, Bedfordshire, APP/P0240/W/16/3150607 (appendix-3). The appeal was dismissed because the Inspector gave weight to policy DM4 because of a Court of Appeal Judgement for ‘the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government v Hopkins Homes Ltd (2016)’ (Hopkins Judgement). The Inspector’s reasons for giving weight to policy DM4 and refusing outline planning permission are explained in the Wrestlingworth decision.

CPRE Bedfordshire justify there is not a shortfall in housing need specifically in Cranfield by citing Office of National Statistics (ONS) Census Statistics 2011 for the Parish of Cranfield (appendix-4) and approved planning applications for new housing in the Parish since  2011 by citing the Council’s Housing Trajectory 1st October 2016 (appendix-5). ONS statistics show there were 1900 dwellings in the Parish in 2011. The Council’s Housing Trajectory, page 4, lists 6 approved planning applications for housing in Canfield since 2011, 526 dwellings in total, across the development plan period.  The number of dwellings in Cranfield will increase by more than 25%.

CPRE Bedfordshire justify a significant adverse impact on the grounds set out in our objection to the Planning Application CB/16/02039/OUT Land between Crawley Road and Bourne End Road Cranfield (appendix-6) together with the Council’s reasons for refusal 1 and 2 set out by the appellant (appendix-1).

In conclusion the housing needs of Cranfield residents will be met over the development plan period therefore the proposed development is unnecessary. The policy DM4 can be used to determine planning applications and the location of the development on land at Cranfield will have significant adverse impact.