Appeal dismissed over Sunderland bungalow plans

Plans for a bungalow development on the outskirts of Sunderland have been dismissed by a government-appointed planning inspector.

Saturday, 1st January 2022, 4:14 pm

Earlier in 2021, Sunderland City Council’s planning department refused proposals for land at Parkside Farm, Stoneygate, in the Copt Hill ward.

This included the demolition of existing outbuilding structures to create a bungalow with associated access.

Following consultation however, Sunderland City Council’s planning department refused the plans and said the development would clash with Green Belt policies.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The turnoff for Parkside Farm, Stoneygate.

This included the proposal being an “inappropriate development within the Green Belt,” which would result in “significant harm to [its] openness.”

The applicant later lodged an appeal against the city council’s ruling, with the matter sent to the Planning Inspectorate and inspector C Coyne appointed by the Secretary of State to decide on the plans.

After considering representations, the planning inspector upheld the council’s refusal decision and dismissed the appeal in November 2021.

The planning inspector looked at whether the harm to the Green Belt could be outweighed by other considerations to amount to the “very special circumstances” required to justify the development.

In a decision report, the planning inspector said the proposal would fall outside the exceptions set out in national planning policy, and that the plans would “not preserve the openness of the Green Belt either spatially or visually.”

While acknowledging an appellant statement that said the “proposed dwelling would be used for a relative with a disability,” the planning inspector added “no substantive evidence has been submitted to support this.”

The planning inspector’s report reads: “Furthermore, whilst I have given the appellants’ personal circumstances careful consideration, I am mindful of the advice contained in planning practice guidance that in general planning is concerned with land use in the public interest.

“It is also probable that the proposed development would remain long after any current personal circumstances cease to be relevant.

“As a result, I afford this consideration little weight.”

The inspector also found the ‘special circumstances’ needed for building on Green Belt land had not been met.

The states: “Paragraphs 147 and 149 of the [National Planning Policy Framework] indicate that inappropriate development is, by definition, harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances.

“Paragraph 148 of the framework also sets out that any harm to the Green Belt should be afforded substantial weight.

“In this context, very special circumstances will not exist unless the harm to the Green Belt and any other harm are clearly outweighed by other considerations.

“I have given little weight to the other considerations cited in favour of the development.

“In my view, these would not clearly outweigh the substantial harm to the Green Belt caused by the proposal’s inappropriateness.

“The very special circumstances necessary to justify the development do not therefore exist.”

The full appeal decision report can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website via reference: APP/J4525/W/21/3272430