Central Bedfordshire 5-Year Housing Land Supply – Meppershall Appeal Decision

Following a virtual appeal hearing in April 2021, a decision has been released for a site off Shefford Road in Meppershall (PINS Ref. 3249265).

Several key issues were raised during the appeal, most notably relating to the 5-year housing land supply of Central Bedfordshire, and in turn whether or not the currently adopted Development Plan Policies are outdated, with particular reference to Policy DM4.

Although the Inspector dismissed the appeal, he considered that there was a shortfall of deliverable housing sites in Central Bedfordshire in relation to five-year housing land supply. The shortfall was determined to be between one and two months. Despite this, the Inspector maintained that Policy DM4, relating to development outside of settlement policy areas, should be apportioned moderate weight.

Moving forward, the Inspector’s conclusion has the potential to implicate on applications currently under consideration within Central Bedfordshire. A small number of these applications may be decided on the tilted balance, though the number is likely to be limited due to the lack of numerical value placed on the shortfall by the Inspector.

Central Bedfordshire’s emerging Local Plan is due to be adopted in 2021 which will confirm Central Bedfordshire position in terms of five-year housing land supply. In the meantime, it will be interesting to monitor application decisions emerging from Central Bedfordshire to see whether the Inspector’s position on 5-year housing land supply is taken into consideration.

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