An appeal to allow 80 homes at Manor Farm, Combe Hill, Templecombe, has been rejected by Planning Inspector Hayley Butcher on heritage grounds.

However she conceded South Somerset District Council does not have a 5-year housing land supply of deliverable sites, which it is required to have by law.

Mark Chugg MRICS, Partner at Greenslade Taylor Hunt, who specialises in Development Land and Planning said: “The Planning Inspector confirms that the supply is between 3.66 and 3.97-years. Therefore, the shortfall is between 1.03 and 1.34-years.”

Part of the council’s problems with being able to demonstrate deliverable sites stem from the Dutch N ruling which has implications for phosphate levels on the Somerset Levels and Moors.

This resulted in Natural England writing to Somerset's four district councils in August 2020, asking them to carry out additional assessments before approving any plans that could increase phosphate levels, which has caused significant delay to a number of planning applications for housing development in the system.

South Somerset is developing a Phosphates Management Strategy due to be delivered by this autumn, with an initial draft expected in August.

However the Planning Inspector said it would be “optimistic” to expect consultations on this to be concluded by the end of the year.

“This gives me sufficient concern so as to question the overall deliverability of the council’s supply of housing, most notably, I consider the phosphates issue will lead to delays which have not been factored into the council’s supply figure,” said the Inspector.

She also noted that the council did not have a recently adopted Local Plan or an annual position statement,which would conclusively demonstrate the housing land supply position.

This provides opportunities for landowners to identify sites that could be suitable for development.

If you are a landowner and would like to investigate the options for your land in South Somerset please contact the experienced development land and planning team at Greenslade Taylor Hunt, who will be able to advise you on the best approach. Please call 01823 334466 or email landplanning.taunton@gth.net