Pegasus Group helped secure planning permission at a Secretary of State (SoS) Call-In appeal, on behalf of client Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd, for a 900-home mixed-use development in Herne Bay, Kent.

In his first planning decision as SoS for Housing, Michael Gove endorsed the findings of the Inspector’s Report and overturned Canterbury City Council’s refusal of planning permission for the scheme on an allocated site at Sweechbridge Road, Hillborough, Herne Bay.

Mr Gove supported the Inspector’s recommendations, following the Inquiry in March 2021, granting full planning permission for 193 homes and outline permission for up to 707 homes, up to 31,500 sq m of employment floorspace, local shops, an 80-bed care home, a community centre and land for a new two form entry primary school.

The public inquiry was held virtually in March this year and Pegasus Group prepared and submitted the appeal, as well as presenting expert planning, urban design and landscape evidence.

Jim Tarzey, Pegasus Group CEO, said: “We are delighted that the Secretary of State agreed with his planning inspector’s conclusions on this large, mixed-use scheme, and that planning permission is now at long last approved.

Canterbury City Council refused the planning application, submitted to them in August 2017, in September 2020, despite the site being allocated for housing, and despite it being recommended for approval by their own planning officers.

We were confident throughout the appeal process that the case we presented was strong and robust, and even on some of the more challenging aspects such as the level of affordable housing and nutrient impact on the local SPA Stodmarsh, the Minister agreed firstly that the lower provision was ‘justified in this case’ and that there was suitable mitigation at source to control nitrate discharge from the site.

In his decision, the Secretary of State found that the proposal was in accordance with the 2017 Canterbury District Local Plan allocating the site for housing and employment, and that as such the contribution of the development to the local housing supply afforded ‘significant weight’.

The 10 per cent level of affordable housing proposed was, he said, ‘significantly lower’ than required but the lower provision of affordable housing was justified in this case; the proposed split of 70 per cent rental and 30 per cent intermediate accommodation was consistent with the local plan; and the overall provision of affordable housing was granted ‘limited weight’.

In his overview of the appeal, the Minister said the principle of plan-led development was particularly important in this case as the development looked to deliver major components of two key strategic policies of the Local Plan, namely a large housing site allocation, and the balance of contributions needed for the Herne Relief Road.

In conclusion he agreed with his Inspector that ‘the development would bring forward the greater part of one of the strategic sites in the District’ important for ‘providing homes, including a proportion of affordable dwellings, and employment opportunities’ and that the benefits of the scheme outweighed the limited harms associated with the proposed development.

For more information about this appeal, please contact us.