A CONTROVERSIAL plan for 30 new houses in Chipping Campden has been approved after an appeal.

The land at Leasows Farm in Chipping Campden was rejected by planners in June 2016, as the land is within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Planners at Cotswold District Council had considered the plan a "major development" which should be refused except under "exceptional circumstances" however, the planning inspector overturned this ruling.

The planning inspector said: "In this case, the council concedes that the scale of the proposal in relation to the size of the settlement would not be major, amounting to about 2.5 percent of the size of the town.

"Looking at the wider context, the whole of the town is washed over by the AONB, and the council accepts that necessary growth will have to occur in the AONB, and to this end, sites have been allocated in the local plan to accommodate some additional growth.

"Thus, merely being within the AONB is not a reason alone to prevent further housing development.

"The proposal would bring with it a number of benefits.

"Notwithstanding that the council can demonstrate a five year supply of housing land, against a background of a need to boost significantly the supply of housing, the provision of 30 further dwellings carries significant weight.

"The proposal would also provide 50 percent affordable housing, which is more than the target amount sought in the emerging plan.

"The council’s housing officer indicates that there are 194 people on the housing register with local connections to the town, but comments that there may be more people who have not been identified.

"This conflicts with the town council’s findings as set out in the draft neighbourhood plan, but as yet, this carries only limited weight.

"Many local residents expressed concern about highway safety.

"Dyers Lane is narrow, lacking a footway, unlit, fairly steep and with limited forward visibility.

"The appellants’ speed survey shows 85th percentile speeds of less than 40 mph, and I am satisfied that the required visibility splays would be appropriate for this speed.

"Whilst some vehicles might travel faster than the 85thpercentile speed, this does not mean that the access would be unsafe.

"I recognise that the lack of footways and the narrowness of Dyers Lane pose some risks for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. However, the road is well used with a weekday average of 85 movements an hour during the morning peak periods, and a weekday average of 524 movements.

"I consider that the additional traffic would not materially affect highway safety conditions."

Around 70 comments were made on the application both in support and against it, including from Chipping Campden Town Council who wrote against the proposal.

Joanna Harrigan, town clerk said: "Chipping Campden Town Council offer their unequivocal support to Cotswolds District Council in their reasons for rejecting planning permission.

"We would also like to bring to the attention of the inspector that there is no justified housing need for this development in the AONB and demonstrate that there have been in excess of 8,000 new homes built within a 7 mile radius of Chipping Campden since the publication of the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework in 2012.)"

In the appeal, an amended site plan was submitted showing that the land between the appeal site and Littleworth was in the ownership of the appellants.