tor&co secures planning permission on Green Belt land to the south of Billericay

tor&co has secured another planning permission for Gleeson Land. This time in relation to a 200-dwelling proposal, including 72 affordable units, on land to the south of Billericay in the Basildon Green Belt.

We had been working very closely with the Council to develop a well-designed scheme for the site, which had been an emerging allocation in their draft Local Plan. On this basis we submitted an outline planning application to run concurrently with the adoption of the draft Plan. However early in 2022, during the applications determination period, the draft Plan was withdrawn by Members.

Despite all technical issues being agreed with officers, leaving the principle of development within the Green Belt as the only outstanding issue, we appealed to the Inspectorate based on non-determination of the application.

The resulting six-day Public Inquiry took place in September / October 2022 with the decision issued on the 9 December 2022.

tor&co were able to prove that the Borough’s housing land supply was 1.76 years, whilst the councils supply assertion was reduced to 1.89 years at the appeal due to our evidence. The Inspector acknowledged the persistent shortfall in delivery and that due to the Council’s recent decision to withdraw the emerging Local Plan the poor delivery would continue for the short to medium term. It was agreed that the proposal would bring forward the delivery of much needed affordable units, significantly more than the Council’s upper required range, with tor&co proving that only 2% of the 5-year completions within the Borough were affordable.

The Inspector also acknowledged the character and appearance of the site and its surroundings, including the proposal’s moderate harm to openness and limited harm to other green purposes. However, the Inspector accepted our case in every aspect and concluded that we had successfully demonstrated very special circumstances and that these clearly outweighed any harm identified by reason of inappropriateness to the Green Belt.

Consequently, very special circumstance existed to justify allowing the appeal. The decision will help deliver much needed market and affordable housing in the Borough.

For more information on the appeal see here to view the Decision Notice.

Images courtesy Richards Urban Design

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