Langford village landscape saved by a landmark Appeal decision

5th March 2020

CPRE Bedfordshire and Langford Parish Council vigorously opposed the proposed development of 55 new homes that were to be built in countryside, on the northern edge of the village and close to the River Ivel.

 

The village’s Neighbourhood Plan was nearing completion and this site had not been allocated for development within it.

 

Legal process

Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) had rejected the planning application submitted by Planning Prospects Ltd, who then took the case to an Appeal Inquiry. A local Inquiry is a more formal procedure than the usual Appeal hearing route and is often used for complex cases where legal issues are being considered.

These legal battles are not fought in terms that many would understand or follow. First the Council had to prove that it had made sufficient provision to meet Central Bedfordshire housing needs until 2035 – the period specified in its Local Plan. CBC also had to prove that it had the required 5 year housing land supply based on that provision.

In short, had CBC failed to demonstrate that it had achieved both of those goals, then the result would be based on whether the benefits of an increase in housing supply, outweighed the loss of the countryside and detrimental effects on the landscape and setting of the village.

 

Site visit

The proposed site was visited by the Inspector several times during the Inquiry, including a trip to the banks of the River Ivel and several public rights of way, in order to gain first-hand knowledge of Langford’s countryside, landscape character and setting.

It was a great relief to all to hear that the Inspector agreed that the Council had both planned to provide a sufficient number of homes and had a robust five year land supply. He also decided that the few benefits offered by the development of the site, were far outweighed by the need to protect the landscape and setting of the village.

 

Precedent

The result of this case can now be used in evidence to defend other similar challenges and so was welcomed by CPRE Bedfordshire. It will help us in our work of protecting the countryside we all value so highly, from similar unsustainable development.

CPRE Bedfordshire are happy to have been able to support the residents of Langford, in achieving this very satisfying result for all involved.

Quernmore landscape