The long-awaited appeal decision on the proposal for up to 30 dwellings on land at Post Office Lane has
been received. This followed an eight-day public inquiry earlier this year when both Malvern Hills and
Kempsey Parish Councils gave evidence.

The Inspector decided that the main issues he had to decide were the effect of the proposal on a) the
character and appearance of the local area; b) the spatial development strategy for the area; c) the
supply of housing land and Affordable Housing, and d) whether it would make adequate provision for
infrastructure, services, facilities and amenities to offset its impact on the locality.

He then had to balance these possibly competing effects to come to a final decision.

The important findings were:

  1. The Council could not show that there were specific deliverable sites to provide the minimum of 5
    years’ housing land required to meet its local housing need. He found that there was only around
    3.7 years, a significant shortfall. As such, the most important relevant Development Plan policies
    were considered to be out-of-date which tilted the balance in favour of sustainable development.
  2. The proposal would have met Development Plan requirements in some respects. For example,
    the proportion of Affordable Housing to be provided; the provision for infrastructure, services,
    facilities and amenities would be adequate to limit its effect and it would help towards meeting
    local housing needs.
  3. Although it would conflict with the spatial development strategy which strictly limits development
    outside development boundaries, it would be offset by the housing land supply shortfall, the
    adequacy of local services and reasonably accessible employment opportunities.
  4. On other matters, from the evidence available he was not persuaded that highway safety on Post
    Office Lane, possible inadequacies with both foul and surface water drainage as well as the capacity
    of the primary school to take further pupils added to the case against the proposal.
  5. However, as it would be set away from the built edge of the settlement and not in keeping with
    the pattern of development both in the village and in the countryside, the Inspector concluded
    that the proposal would have a substantial adverse effect on the character and appearance of
    the local area. This would be contrary to other planning policies locally and nationally.
    The lack of an adequate housing land supply, in itself, did not determine the outcome. In assessing the
    overall balance, the Inspector gave the most and substantial weight to the final point and found that the
    appeal scheme would conflict with the Development Plan taken as a whole. As such, the appeal was
    dismissed and Outline Planning Permission refused.