An appeal was made against Leeds City Council’s decision not to grant planning permission for a residential development of 400 homes. The Inspector initially recommended that the appeal be allowed. However, the inquiry was reopened the following year following the submission by a local residents group of additional evidence in relation to a possible impact on rare bats.

Despite the Inspector’s finding following the second inquiry that, subject to the imposition of suitable conditions, the proposed development would be unlikely to result in harm to bats, the Inspector this time concluded that the appeal should be dismissed. This was accepted by the Secretary of State in his decision letter.

The Inspector’s initial view was informed by the LPA’s lack of a five-year housing supply. Despite misgivings about the likely effect of the development on local character and identity, the Inspector, applying paragraph 49 of the NPPF and the presumption in favour of sustainable development, concluded that permission should be granted.

Between the inquiry sessions, however, the local Core Strategy was adopted and the LPA was able to demonstrate a credible five-year housing supply without need for the 400 dwellings from the appeal site. As a result of this significant change in circumstances the presumption in favour no longer applied.