Plans for 100 homes on edge of Southwater allowed on appeal

A planning inspector has overturned Horsham District Council’s decision to refuse an application for up to 100 homes in Southwater.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 11:37 am

The application, from Catesby Strategic Land Limited, asked for outline permission to build on land at Rascals Farm, in Shipley Road.

It was refused by the council in July 2020 on the grounds that the site had not been allocated for housing in the Neighbourhood Plan and its ‘urbanising influence’ would harm the ‘countryside character of the area’.

During his investigation, the planning inspector considered whether Rascals Farm was a suitable location for the new homes, what impact they would have on the area, and if the harm caused to the area would be outweighed by other considerations.

Indicative layout of the proposed homes

One of those considerations was whether the council could demonstrate that it had a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites.

This proved to be a sticking point.

While the council claimed it did have that supply, the inspector found that it did not.

According to the council, some 4,714 homes would be built over the next five years – giving it a 5.01-year supply – but the inspector found that only 3,958 of those homes were actually deliverable within that time.

Artist's illustration of the proposed development

As such, he said the council only had a 4.2-year supply of deliverable housing sites.

This was enough to sway his decision in favour of the developer.

In his report, published this week, the inspector acknowledged that the new homes would cause harm to the character and appearance of the area.

But he felt that was outweighed by a number of issues, including the housing land supply position.

He added: “In conclusion, the proposed development would meet identified local housing needs by delivering housing on a site, which is on the edge of an existing settlement and well related to local services in Southwater.”