Despite being blocked two years ago, a planning application for 83 homes has been approved at appeal.

The land between Church Lane and Sarratt Road in Sarratt could soon be the site of a large housing development after outline permission was granted by the planning inspectorate on Friday (May 3).

Outline plans for up to 78 homes were initially shot down by Three Rivers District Council in October 2022 after it decided the project would “irreversibly” change the “tranquil” Green Belt setting.

The designs also included an access road, scout hut, and a doctors’ surgery.

The appeal started on January 10, 2023, and linked the plan with another outline proposal from the same developer, Burlington Property Group, for nine new homes in nearby land off Church Lane. Both appeals were therefore judged together.

During the process, the developer amended the main proposal to remove reference to the scout hut and added five more homes (bringing the total to 83).

There were 48 affordable units proposed across both plans.

All sides agreed that the homes constituted an inappropriate development in the green belt but the conflict was primarily over whether the benefits would constitute ‘very special circumstances’ clearly outweighing harm caused to the green belt.

Watford Observer: The green belt land in Sarratt.The green belt land in Sarratt. (Image: Google Street View)

The Planning Inspectorate decided that the need for housing in the area “persistently going unmet”, with existing settlement boundaries alone not being enough to meet it, made harm to the openness of the green belt “inevitable”.

The inspector for the appeals said: “The severe housing shortfall attracts very substantial weight in favour of granting permissions for the proposals, unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this framework taken as a whole.

Watford Observer: The site location for the main plan.The site location for the main plan. (Image: Google Maps/Canva)

“I am satisfied that none of the reasons put forward for opposing these proposals establishes that the harm would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.

"Therefore, notwithstanding any conflict with development plan policies, it follows that both appeals should succeed, subject to conditions.”

As outline applications, more detailed plans for each project will still need to be submitted and approved before development can go ahead. Watford Observer: The site location for the 9-home plan.The site location for the 9-home plan. (Image: Google Maps/Canva)