Realising development potential – planning approved for 7x family homes in Sussex

Indicative layouts for 7 dwellings outside settlement boundary

Sometimes a site can, on paper, appear to have limited development potential. But with a thorough site appraisal, considered planning strategy and effective analysis of planning policy, a site’s true potential can be realised. This was certainly true of one of our recent appeal wins which has seen us secure planning approval for 7x family dwellings.

The benefits of a long-term development strategy

We have been working with the landowner to achieve planning permission on the site for over 2 years.  When we were first approached to assist, an initial review of the site flagged several immediate concerns including:

  • its location outside of the settlement boundary and within open countryside;
  • local policies which sought to restrict development in these locations.

However, upon closer analysis we could see that in this case rigid application of the local policies would not allow for the balanced deliberation needed. Material considerations existed which would justify a more pragmatic application of policy and that careful development of the site would essentially support local policy aims rather than undermine them.

Managing risk and banking the principle of development

Situated within an extensive domestic garden, our site appraisal identified that the plot would be suitable for 7x high quality, sustainable family homes. Aware of the potential on-paper challenges, we commenced a long-term planning strategy to manage the risk and pulled together an effective project team who provided comprehensive landscaping, arboriculture and visual impact information to support the planning strategy.

Our first phase was to bank the principle of development on site with approval for 3 dwellings at planning appeal on the upper part of the site, for which we also obtained reserved matters approval.

We then sought to realise the site’s full development potential with a planning application for the development of a further 4 dwellings on the lower section of the site.

Planning at appeal

Having already secured 3 of the 7 dwellings at planning appeal, we were prepared when the council refused the application for the next phase of development. The reasons for refusal mostly centred on an up to date development plan and a secure 5YHLS. As a result, there was no policy requirement to allow development on sites outside of the settlement boundary.  It was also felt that any development on site would damage the rural setting and local amenity.

Working through the reasons for refusal, we prepared a robust written representations appeal which justified why the site was ripe for development and included:

  • analysis of the local 5YHLS which identified an ongoing undersupply within the district as a whole;
  • evidence of the nullity of the appeal precedents used to justify the refusal;
  • necessary evidence relating to windfall sites;
  • evidence to support the need to redraw the settlement boundary to accommodate housing need;
  • relevant High Court decisions which supported the definition of the land as garden not greenfield and its associated development potential;
  • a design review to show how the proposed dwellings respect and respond to local context and amenity and would have no impact on open countryside.

By managing our client’s expectations from the off, working proactively with the council, spreading the risk and investing in a long-term planning strategy, we are delighted that planning approval has been secured for a total of 7 stylish and quality family homes on the site and will provide a valuable contribution to housing need in the area.

About us:

Plainview Planning are an independent planning consultancy.  We have been providing our clients with clear and effective planning support for over a decade.  If you need planning consultant support with your development project or are looking to explore the development potential of your site, contact our team to see how we can best help and to receive a no obligation quote for our services. You can submit your site details via or via our landmark page.  We value your privacy and any information which you provide will not be shared outside of our company and will only be used in relation to your enquiry.

Planning definitions:

  • 5-year housing land supply (5YHLS): This is a supply of specific deliverable sites which are sufficient to provide 5 years’ worth of housing against a housing requirement which is set out in adopted strategic policies at national and local level.
  • Windfall sites: This refers to sites which become available for development unexpectedly. This means they are not specifically identified for development in the LPA’s development plan.