DLP Planning Ltd, acting as part of the appeal team representing Inspired Villages, led by Chris Young QC, have gained on appeal planning permission for a 143-unit retirement village in the Chilterns AONB, at Sonning Common, South Oxfordshire.
DLP oversaw the preparation of the initial, hybrid application for the proposal and led discussions with South Oxfordshire Council prior to the determination of the application. Following refusal of the application in 2020, DLP instructed Chris Young QC, and DLP provided evidence in respect of housing land supply, planning policy and the planning balance with Simon James MRTPI and Roland Bolton MRTPI giving evidence at the 9-day Public Local Inquiry.
In his decision letter, Inspector Harold Stephens accepted the evidence given and found, respectively, that there was an established, substantial need for specialist accommodation for the elderly, which was not being met within the Council area, that there was not demonstrated to be a five year supply of housing land in place, that the appeal site had a strong relationship with the built form of the village and that the proposal itself was attractive and contextual in its setting. Inspector Stephens allowed the appeal and dismissed a costs application made by South Oxfordshire and found that the appellants had not acted unreasonably.
Subsequent to the issuing of the decision, South Oxfordshire Council sought to challenge the decision in the High Court but their application for leave to bring a case was dismissed twice, the first time by written application and the second via a hearing, and the Council subsequently withdrew their challenge allowing Inspired Villages to pursue approval of reserved matters and the discharge of conditions prior to delivering the development.
DLP are now instructed to discharge conditions and reserved matters and will continue working on this to provide for commencement of development later this year.