A policy introduced by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) to restrict occupancy of new housing to people with a local need has been upheld by a planning inspector.
Developers appealed against a decision by the authority to apply the policy to five new houses built on land at Pant Lane in Austwick.
Planning permission was granted for the houses on the basis that they could only be occupied for their entire lifespan by local people rather than being bought as a second home or holiday accommodation.
The developers, Isle of Man-based Kerrowmere Ltd, claimed the policy contravened UK and EU law and the Human Rights Act and should be removed.
In addition, they claimed the houses would be impossible to sell if the ownership was restricted to local people.
Their appeal was dismissed by planning inspector Brian Rogers. He said that the occupancy obligation served a proper planning purpose – to build up a stock of housing for local people – and there was no justification in the claim that it breached Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
“The obligation was sought for a legitimate aim, in accordance with duly adopted planning policy for this local area,” he added.
“The appellants also claim that a public authority cannot impose restrictions on a person’s use of their property. However, such interference may be justified where there is a proper legal basis for this interference and such interference is justified in the public interest. I am satisfied that is the case here.”
Mr Rogers said no evidence had been produced to show any marketing had taken place and that the obligation had had a significant impact on obtaining mortgages.
“Whilst there may be fewer potential lenders, it is not argued that it is not possible to obtain a mortgage for dwellings with occupancy restrictions.
“Such restrictions have been commonplace for years, particularly in the case of agricultural or forestry workers.”
He concluded: “The case put forward by the appellants is not of sufficient weight to persuade me that an exception should be made to the policy set out in the development plan.”
Richard Graham, the YDNPA’s head of development management, welcomed the inspector’s decision, saying it was very good news.
“It supports the objective of the national park authority and our local partners to provide a stock of housing that can only be occupied by local people wanting to live in the area where they work or were born and brought up.
“The need for affordable housing in the national park has never been greater and it is vital that our policy of restricting occupancy of new homes remains intact.”
Chris Armitage, the authority’s member champion for development management, said it had approved 95 per cent of applications in the past year.