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Council’s decision to reject Grove development backed by government

The national Planning Inspectorate has found Vale of White Horse District Council was correct to refuse a planning application for 300 new houses near Grove and has dismissed an appeal to overturn its decision.

The application from David Wilson Homes, which proposed up to 300 dwellings on land east of Grove, was refused by the district council in July 2022 for reasons including it would have significant negative impacts on the countryside and landscape, and that there wasn’t a need for additional housing in this location.

As per the government planning guidance, district councils are required to identify specific sites to provide a minimum of five years’ worth of housing for the district. Vale of White Horse District Council can more than meet this requirement, with a housing land supply of 6.29 years district wide in their latest published position statement.

The applicant appealed the decision to refuse the application, questioning the council’s housing land supply figures and method, but the appeal has now been dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate.

The Inspector found that the Vale district does indeed have more than a five-year housing land supply as required by the NPPF and confirmed that the approach the council used is appropriate. He also concluded that even if the council had not been able to demonstrate a five year land supply, the harm to the countryside and character of the landscape from these proposals would significantly outweigh the benefits of the application.

Cllr Bethia Thomas, Leader at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We’re delighted by the Planning Inspectorate’s decision to dismiss this appeal. It vindicates our approach and confirms to other developers out there that we do indeed have a healthy five year land supply position.

“This is a positive example of how our planning tools, such as our Local Plan and Landscape Character Assessment, work together to stop unwanted development in our district and look at housing that the Vale needs rather than what developers want. I would like to thank our officers and all those who sent in comments and attended the public inquiry to make it clear to the Inspector what the community felt about this proposal.”

Notes to the editor

Vale of White House District Council publishes its five year housing land supply position on its website. The latest position statement, as at 1 April 2022, shows that the Council has a five year housing land supply of 6.29 years district wide. At the recent appeal, the Inspector agreed with the Council that the latest figures were higher still, nearer to 6.36 years Find out more and view our Housing Supply Statement on our webpage.

The Planning Inspectorate deals with planning appeals, national infrastructure planning applications, examinations of local plans and other planning-related and specialist casework in England. Find out more on the Planning Inspectorate website.

You can view more details of the appeal and the Inspector’s decision on the Planning Inspectorate case portal.