A PLANNING inspector’s decision to allow a developer to create a new housing estate could put extra pressure on councils to approve controversial applications.

Cala Homes appealed after Malvern Hills District Council turned down an application for 28 homes at Claphill Lane, Rushwick, and failed to determine another application for 28 homes on the same plot in the required time.

After a hearing in April, planning inspector David Morgan decided in favour of Cala, and told the council to pay costs. In his ruling he said the council “could not demonstrate a five year supply of housing land” and its housing policies “can no longer be considered up-to-date”.

Last week, coun John Raine warned in the Gazette he fears developers will take advantage of the council’s “contested” figure for its five-year land supply, a key figure for local authorities looking for reasons to refuse planning applications. The council is also vulnerable because the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) has not been approved.

Now he says the inspector’s latest decision may well strengthen developers’ hands when they appeal against refusal of planning permission.

He said: “There are already nine planning applications on the table which are not in the SWDP.”

Darren Humphreys, managing director of Cala, said: “We welcome the decision. In our opinion, it should never have been refused at committee and gone to appeal and this is recognised in the fact we were awarded costs.”

Cala has not submitted costs and would not comment on the amount to the Gazette.