The Inquiry started at 9.30 with a brief explanation from the Inspector of what he had seen and where he had been on Wednesday (Day 6). It then moved on to a brief discussion about proposed conditions and the 106 Obligations should one or both of the appeals succeed. Of particular importance to the schooling issue was the announcement from Catesby that it had agreement with the relevant Derbyshire County Council officer that if Ecclesbourne refused to increase its intake then the 106 financial contributions towards educational provision would go to John Port in Etwall.
Rupert Warren for Catesby was the last speaker reading from a 49 page statement for nearly two hours. Because of the length of that statement it is not reproduced here but the gist of his long and detailed argument was that the heritage impacts and the other modest impacts he identified would not outweigh the benefits of granting planning permission “significantly and demonstrably” which is the wording used in the NPPF.
He suggested that the key to the judgement that the Inspector had to make was that there had been little or no dissent from the substantial weight to be given to the benefits whilst the heritage harms had been heavily overstated by AVBC and KV.
He concluded “in short the application of planning balance to the facts here requires one to be realistic. Change is required because the current housing situation cannot be allowed to persist; it will cause some harm to locate housing in the most sustainable places overall. As far as Amber Valley and Derby City are concerned, the site is in an ideal location and could be delivered easily at relatively limited cost to the historic environment. Once the houses are built there will still be a huge belt of agricultural land surrounding the Kedleston RPG on all sides; there will still be views of the edge of the park from multiple public viewpoints, including further to the north on Kedleston Road; there will still be the more valuable set of closer views after one has taken the left hand turn towards the hotel; there will still be an unblemished set of relationships within the Park itself, between the Hall, the Park and its monuments.”
“ The visitor to Kedleston from the south will pass a new housing development at the point where currently they have Allestree already on their right, leave the edge of Derby/Allestree with views of the outside of the RPG available to them, and then begin to climb towards the hotel, where the experience of approach and arrival begins in earnest. The loss of a relatively short stretch of views over the hedge towards the RPG, given what will remain completely unaffected by the scheme, is a price worth paying to ensure that people’s basic needs for housing continue to be met.”
He asked that both appeals be allowed and that the planning permissions sought be granted.
The Inquiry closed at 13.35 and a day ahead of schedule. We now have to wait several weeks for the Inspector’s decision.