The relevant Development Plan Documents for the Borough includes:
- Core Strategy (2009)
- Site Allocations and Development Management Policies DPD (2016)
The Core Strategy provides the spatial strategy and strategic policies for the district to deliver development in the period to 2028.
The Core Strategy and Site Allocations DPD set out that
- 9,000 dwellings should be provided between 2006-2026; this equates to 450 dwellings per annum;
- Between 2006 and 2026 the Council will seek to deliver 105 affordable homes per year;
- Markfield is a Key Rural Centre relating to Leicester where the scale and type of development is based on supporting local needs
- Allocations to deliver a minimum of 80 new homes should be made in Markfield
Whilst it is acknowledged that the requirement in the Core Strategy has been met, the plan is now more than five years old and has not been reviewed with the Local Housing Need having increased meaning that the housing policies are out-of-date.
In this instance, Paragraph 11 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that plans and decisions should apply a presumption in favour of sustainable development. For decision taking this means:
- Approving development proposals that accord with an up-to-date development plan without delay; and
- Where there are no relevant development plan policies, or the policies which are most important for determining the application are out of date, granting planning permission unless:
- The application of policies of the framework that protect areas or assets of particular importance provides a clear reason for refusing the development proposed; or
- Any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in the Framework as a whole.
Markfield is designated as a ‘Key Rural Centre’ and is a sustainable settlement with local services, facilities, employment and access to sustainable modes of transport.
The proposed development provides significant benefits in delivering housing to meet of a local need for affordable and market housing in a location well-related to the existing settlement. Additional community benefits would be provided through the inclusion of on-site open space.
Markfield Neighbourhood Plan Group are in the process of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan which does not seek to allocate this site as the preferred housing allocation. However, this is at a relatively early stage in its preparation and can be afforded limited weight in decision-making and there are significant concerns that the Neighbourhood Plan does not seek to allocate sufficient growth to meet need moving forwards through the plan-making process. This site is very well located to accommodate additional need.
The proposal would not have any adverse impacts that would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the significant benefits of the proposal and therefore should be approved in accordance with Paragraph 11 d) ii of the NPPF.
The application will be submitted in outline form with access for consideration, with layout, scale, appearance and landscaping as reserved matters. However, the application will be accompanied by a comprehensive suite of documents including illustrative plans and strategies, to demonstrate that the development can be comfortably accommodated on the site.