Communities Secretary Greg Clark has dismissed two re-opened appeals, one for 116 dwellings and a care home and the other for 85 dwellings at a green belt location – largely open farmland – on the northern edge of St Albans in Hertfordshire. The site is located between the mainline railway and the A1081.
Both schemes had been refused by the local planning authority, St Albans City and District Council and dismissed on appeal by a planning inspector in 2013. However developer Hunston Properties mounted a successful High Court challenge which quashed the inspector’s decision. Subsequently the council went to the Court of Appeal which resulted in a ruling that the appeals should be reheard and redetermined.
The SoS agreed with the inspector that, despite the council having less than 3.7 years of housing land supply “the very special circumstances do not exist to justify allowing the inappropriate development”.
Clark’s decision letter concluded that the schemes represented “substantial green belt harm”. He also agreed with the inspector that the schemes posed “significant harm to the character and appearance of the area, diminishing its intrinsic character and beauty, causing real and serious harm with a lasting effect on the nature of the countryside”.
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