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Peterborough council defends decision to reject homes on open countryside as Public Inquiry ends

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The four-day Public Inquiry being held in Peterborough came to an end with barristers for both sides giving their closing speeches.

Developers Larkfleet Homes are appealing the refusal of a planning application by Peterborough City Council for up to 78 dwellings together with the various sporting facilities on open space near Lincoln Road in the village of Glinton.

Clare Parry (Cornerstone), barrister for Peterborough City Council, stated on the final day of the inquiry (Friday, February 8) that council planning officers had every right to use the policy that they had as it was in the interests of the local plan which keeps developments of this nature in the open countryside to a minimum, and within the settlement boundaries of the village.

She added that the inclusion of additional sports facilities, paid in part by Larkfleet, were unnecessary as the village already has adequate facilities, and that only the footballers would benefit from a new clubhouse and pitches.

Peter Goatley (No.5 Chambers), barrister for Larkfleet, pointed out that the very reason the updated policies had been brought in as part of the 2018 National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was because those adopted by Peterborough’s planning officers were considered too inflexible.

“There must be some degree of flexibility when it comes to developments outside of the settlement boundary otherwise no new properties would ever be built on open countryside,” he said.

“Simply because this is prime agricultural land should not be a reason for denying a planning application, unless there are exceptional circumstance – and there are none in this case.”

The inquiry could hinge on whether Peterborough City Council has correctly assessed its land supply figures, with much focus on the policies applied.

A decision is expected from Government Inspector Caroline Mulloy in approximately two months.

Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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