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Leggatts Campus Appeal Decision

Category: News 23 June 2010

An Inspector has overturned the decision of Watford BC to reject an application because they wanted the developer to provide more houses and less flats.

Pioneer provided consultancy / expert witness services to Taylor Wimpey North Thames Ltd in respect of the overall housing mix and affordable housing proposals for the Leggatts Way development in Watford. The two main issues at the Hearing related to the character and appearance of the site, and the ‘the relationship between supply, need and demand for housing of various types and sizes’.

Despite officer recommendation for approval, planning consent was refused on the grounds that an ‘excessive proportion of flats’ and ‘insufficient houses’ were proposed. The Council sought to rely on the site Development Brief to support its argument, and only took issue with the affordable housing baseline proposals at a very late stage. The Inspector concluded, however, that the Development Brief aspiration for the site to be ‘dominated by houses’ went beyond settled Plan policy and he did not find the Council’s arguments to be compelling. He therefore determined the character and appearance of the proposals to be appropriate.

Housing mix and affordable housing evidence was submitted by Pioneer to rebut the Council’s arguments. These points included: the compliance of the proposals with the Councils own housing needs evidence and local policy position (the Council relied on snapshot housing waiting list data as opposed to their housing needs assessment); the limited impact of the proposed flatted provision upon the prevailing mix in the area; the out migration of younger households, and, the affordability of flats.

The Inspector concluded that the Council’s affordable housing arguments did not justify dismissing the appeal, and it is apparent from the wording of the Inspector’s report that the points raised in the Pioneer evidence played a key role in securing a favourable outcome in this appeal.

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