Valued landscape is that which is "out of the
ordinary", rather than designated or simply popular (Stroud District Council v Secretary of State
for Communities and Local Government  EWHC 488
(Admin)). The Inspector decided there were "no
particular landscape features, characteristics or elements that
demonstrate that the appeal site is in [landscape assessment] terms
representative of the wider landscape i.e. a particularly important
example which takes this site beyond representing anything more
than countryside in general". However he also concluded
that 'valued landscape' must mean a landscape that is
considered to be of value because of particular attributes that
have been designated through the adoption of a local planning
The Secretary of State accepted the claimant's argument,
that this was a misapplication of NPPF 109, but resisted quashing
of the decision on the basis that the decision would have
inevitably been the same. The developer fought back harder, on the
basis that the Inspector properly found the landscape not to be
valued because it lacked the necessary attributes, and so
approached the NPPF 109 policy lawfully.
The claim was dismissed on the basis that while the
Inspector's phrasing was in places "less than
optimal", he had ultimately properly determined the issue
having addressed the critical question of whether the landscape had
extra-ordinary aspects taking it beyond 'mere countryside'.
The outcome would therefore have been no different.
The status and effect of valued but undesignated landscape is an
increasingly common element of objections to greenfield housing
schemes. Understanding whether there is any underlying objective
basis for local perception of value is crucial to deal properly
with these issues.
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