KPPC in planning appeal win

APPEAL WIN: Artist’s impression of Cicero Estates’ 72-home development at Marnhull in north Dorset, which has been approved on appeal. Ken Parke Planning Consultants Ltd (KPPC) acted for Cicero Estates.

Plans for a new development of 72 homes in north Dorset have been given the green light after a public inquiry.

The outline application for a 13-acre (5.2 hectare) site on the edge of the village of Marnhull was refused by Dorset Council in June 2021 but now has been granted on appeal.

Planning inspector Paul Jackson overturned the local authority’s decision following a five-day public inquiry in April of this year.

In his recently published decision, the inspector concluded that the development would ‘make a significant contribution’ to housing supply in the area and the impacts of the scheme would fall short of significantly and demonstrably outweighing the benefits of the scheme

Ken Parke Planning Consultants Ltd (KPPC), who acted for applicant Cicero Estates, welcomed the ruling for the site north of Crown Road.

Adam Bennett, chartered town planning sonsultant at Bournemouth-based KPPC Ltd, said: “There were a number of nuances and complexities for the inspector to consider.

“These included the setting of the site within the countryside, the proposed development’s effect on the character of the area and nearby heritage assets, and fundamentally the council’s housing land supply and status of its local development plan policies for north Dorset.

“The adopted development plan is not currently meeting either the nationally defined needs for housing or delivering the growth which was committed on its strategic sites at the larger local towns.

“As the inspector accepted, the local plan recognises that Marnhull is a location for growth to meet local needs but in absence of broader strategic needs being met, the development as proposed would enhance and maintain the vitality and viability of both Marnhull and nearby villages which share facilities and represent sustainable development.

“Ultimately, the key was that the land formed part of and sat consistent with the landscape framework of Marnhull village and although visible from certain heritage assets and thus a component part of their setting, such as the Grade I listed church of St Gregory, this would not erode their significance.

“When balanced in the frame of the council’s absence of a five-year housing land supply, its policies for the supply of housing being rendered out of date and the significant need for both market and affordable homes, the benefits in this case both significantly and demonstrably outweighed any harm when considered within the NPPF’s tilted balance.

“We are grateful for the inspector’s decision which will help provide much-needed homes, including affordable housing, and accompanying community benefits.”

APPEAL WIN: Artist’s impression of layout of Cicero Estates’ 72-home development at Marnhull in north Dorset, which has been approved on appeall. Ken Parke Planning Consultants Ltd (KPPC) acted for Cicero Estates.

The development includes 28 affordable homes and contributions towards existing community facilities, including the village hall, allotments, outdoor sports and facilities, a play area, footpath upgrades, the GP surgery and secondary education.

In his report, Mr Jackson found that the evidence showed that the council could not demonstrate a five-year housing land supply in north Dorset – enough specific sites to provide five years’ worth of housing to hit the government’s targets for housing delivery as per the standard methodology ­– despite council arguments to the contrary.

Mr Jackson concluded in his inquiry report: “The proposed 72 dwellings would make a significant contribution to housing supply and this attracts very substantial weight.”

He added: “Considerable importance and weight attaches to the desirability of preserving heritage assets.

“But the public benefits of the proposal appreciably outweigh the less than substantial harm to heritage significance in this case.

“That harm together with the extent of harm to landscape interests and the character and appearance of the area, taking into account the locational disadvantages, fall short of significantly and demonstrably outweighing the benefits overall and for this reason, the appeal should be allowed.”

The heritage assets in Marnhull, which is the largest village in north Dorset, included the Grade I listed St Gregory’s Church and several grade-II listed homes.

KPPC has acted for Cicero Estates throughout the planning process and instructed counsel for the public inquiry. Mr Bennett gave evidence as the planning and affordable housing witness at the inquiry.

A reserved matters application for details of the development is expected to be decided within the coming year.