Planning inspector overrules council’s decision on homes in Buckden

An artist's impression of Gladman's proposed site in Buckden.

An artist's impression of Gladman's proposed site in Buckden. - Credit: Archant

The Planning Inspectorate has overruled Huntingdonshire District Council’s refusal to grant permission for 180 new homes in Buckden, with the authority accused of failing to build enough houses in the district.

Gladman Developments appealed to the inspector after its plan for dozens of new homes on a 26-site off Lucks Lane was refused by the council, which contended that the development was outside of the approved built-up area of the village.

Gladman argued that the district council had not identified a deliverable five-year supply of housing and the inspector, Michael Boniface, in a judgement published last week, agreed.

Mr Boniface also said that the council’s policies in relation to the supply of housing were acting as a constraint.

In his report, Mr Boniface said: “Notwithstanding that the council consistently met its housing targets prior to 2012/13, its delivery record against the increased target has been poor, with four consecutive years of significant under supply and a further year predicted.

“In my view, it is pertinent that the undersupply has occurred in consecutive years with no immediate prospect of a change in that situation.

“This suggests to me that the current policy position is acting as a constraint to delivery in Huntingdonshire.”

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Concerns raised by residents’ groups regarding the impact of the development on local roads and the A1 were also dismissed by the inspector, who said that there would be “no junction capacity or congestion issues” in the village, while the impact on the A1 roundabout would be minimal, despite noting that the junction was already at or nearing capacity.

Councillor Terry Hayward, who represents Buckden, said: “I think it was a very ill-judged decision. We were very disappointed by the lack of support from Cambridgeshire County Council and Highways England on road safety, which we thought was a very big issue.

“The inspector’s view seems to be that there is going to be a lot of traffic anyway and that a few more cars won’t make any difference, which frankly appalled me.”

A spokesman for Huntingdonshire District Council said: “Whilst a number of other recent appeal decisions have accepted that the district council does have a five-year housing land supply, in the recent appeal decision for development off Lucks Lane in Buckden an inspector took the view that the council only has up to a 4.58-year supply.

“That conclusion was largely based on an examination of information from the December 2016 annual monitoring report. The council has already embarked on its annual monitoring report for 2017, which includes contacting landowners and developers to ascertain their current plans and timeframes for building out planning permission and allocations.

“The council is currently collating this up-to-date evidence but it is clear that this latest information will demonstrate that the council does have a five-year supply of housing land.”