Dorset Council: Pure Town Planning are delighted to share the great news that we have secured outline planning permission for our clients AJ Developments for the erection of the 27 dwellings on land at Castle Lane in Okeford Fitzpaine. Supporting plans were prepared by Anders Roberts Cheer Architects.

All matters were reserved and therefore the main issue for the Council’s consideration was the principle of development. Issues relating to access, scale, layout, appearance and landscaping were reserved for determination at a later stage.

This scheme came forward following the former North Dorset District Council “call for sites”. The Council do not have a five-year housing supply therefore the presumption in favour of sustainable development applies. In applying this policy, the NPPF makes clear that planning permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of boosting housing supply.

In this instance, the site lies on the northern edge of Okeford Fitzpaine and is adjacent to the village’s defined settlement boundary. Okeford Fitzpaine has a variety of amenities and is identified as a sustainable location for further housing growth within the Local Plan. In terms of housing need, a housing needs assessment was undertaken as part of the neighbourhood planning process and concluded that there was a need for 107 dwellings within the village. Of the 107 dwellings required, only 53 had been delivered or benefitted from permission, therefore there was an unmet need for 54 dwellings within the settlement. This proposal for 27 units will contribute significantly to the settlement’s housing needs and contribute to the District’s overall housing land supply.

Whilst the site was outside of the adopted settlement boundary, it was seen as a logical location to extend the village. The site falls outside of the Okeford Fitzpaine’s Conservation Area, the Dorset AONB and it is not within Flood Zones 2 or 3, therefore there are no in-principle heritage, landscape and flooding reasons why the site cannot be developed.

In addition to boosting housing supply, the proposal will deliver significant public benefits which weigh heavily in favour of the application. To this regard, the scheme provides 40% on-site affordable housing and planning obligations in excess of £419,000 to be spent on local infrastructure such as play facilities, community facilities, education provision and outdoor space. The applicant has reached an agreement with Aster who will be providing the affordable housing, therefore the dwellings will be available for eligible local residents.

In terms of other considerations, whilst all matters are reserved matters, the indicative layout plan demonstrated that a 27-unit development could be achieved which safeguarded the character of the area, avoids harm to the amenities of neighbouring residents and provides a suitable means of vehicle and pedestrian access. To minimise views of the development from the open countryside to north of the site, a substantial screening boundary of trees and hedgerows will be planted along the northern boundary as part of the final scheme.

Members of the planning committee agreed with their officer’s view earlier this year and deemed that this scheme presented an excellent opportunity to provide 27 high quality family homes in a sustainable location, boosting the District’s housing land supply and delivering significant public benefits and voted to approve the scheme accordingly.

If you are a landowner and want to find out if your parcel of land has development potential, then contact Pure Town Planning on 01202 585524 or email info@puretownplanning.co.uk for a FREE 30-minute confidential consultation.

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