Flats in Thundersley Green Belt backed by appeal inspector
An inspector has allowed an appeal against Castle Point Borough Council’s refusal of planning permission for 22 new flats in the Green Belt.
Plans to develop a site of a little more than an acre on the edge of a residential area in Thundersley had been blocked by the local authority. Surrounded by buildings on three sides, the site is separated from the wider Green Belt by a bridleway, beyond which lies ancient woodland.
Determining the appeal, the inspector concluded the purposes of the Green Belt would not be compromised by the scheme, between Thundersley and South Benfleet.
The inspector judged it could be viewed as rounding off previous development rather than sparking further loss of Green Belt land. Although he gave substantial weight to damage to the Green Belt, he decided this was significantly moderated by the creation of a clear, more defensible boundary.
Further, there had been a persistent under-delivery of housing in the borough, which had an out-of-date time-expired Local Plan; hence some sacrifice of Green Belt was unavoidable if homes were to be built.
The inspector concluded that the scheme’s contribution towards housing provision outweighed its harm to the Green Belt, giving the very special circumstances required for the appeal to be allowed.