Inspector dismisses housing appeal over “Environmental Harm” of building between Welton and Dunholme


Fears that Welton and Dunholme would lose their “open rural character” have been cited as a reason why an appeal against a housing plan between the two settlements has been dismissed.

Charles Pickering of Dunholme had submitted an outline planning application for 74 homes on land west of Ryland Road, a plan that was turned down by West Lindsey District Council.

A judgement by Brenda Lyons of the Planning Inspectorate says the council turned down the plan due to policy guidelines that seek to protect the open rural character or undeveloped gaps between settlements.

“The site lies outside the development boundaries of the two villages, within the area allocated for protection under this policy,” she said.

“Development of the site would be significant in visual terms, and to the perception of a break between settlements,” continued her judgement.

“The change from open land to developed housing would be clearly discernible from Ryland Road. The extent of the open gap between settlements would be significantly reduced.

“The applicant (Pickering) considers that an acceptable gap would be retained by leaving adequate space between buildings. This would rely on the setting back of the built development behind the proposed green space,” it said.

However, Inspector Lyons also reported the appeal site was well located with regard to access for local services and to public transport links to larger service centres. This would accord with the social dimension of sustainable development.

Including 30 ‘affordable’ homes as part of the 74 planned homes would also help address shortages of both affordable and open market houses.

“There has been some local support for this provision as part of a process of growth and renewal of the villages,” said the judgement.

“The proposed provision of affordable housing also attracted some strong local support in written submissions and at the Inquiry. The number of units proposed would exceed the local policy minimum level and would go some way towards meeting the currently identified need from both villages. This would provide some positive weight in favour of the proposal.”

However, the judgement also noted environmental and social ‘harm’ caused by developing between Welton and Dunholme.

“Environmental harm would arise from the loss of open land as a buffer between the two built-up areas and from the curtailed landscape setting of the two villages, while residents’ access to undeveloped open land leading to the wider countryside would be affected.

“The extent of the proposed development frontage to Ryland Road would be significantly harmful. The proposal would appear primarily as an extension of the built up area of Welton, but the overlap of the development would make it considerably less clear that, as put by the appellant in closing, ‘Welton is Welton; Dunholme is Dunholme,’ it said.

The judgement added housing shortages would be short-term as more suitable sites elsewhere were built on.

Archeological, traffic and parking concerns had no impact over the proposal but due to the matters raised above, the appeal was dismissed.