World of Pets site in Trafford – an interesting case study in planning decision-making.

The events going on at the World of Pets site in Trafford are making for an interesting case study in planning decision-making.  

With planning for the 116-home residential scheme denied by Trafford Council, the government planning inspectorate has now overturned the local authority’s decision and given the project the go-ahead. 

While the Trafford council took the view that the scheme could not justify the harm to the green belt, the planning inspectorate took the opposing view. Offering their rationale, they commented “the acute and persistent housing supply shortfall” trumped any considerations regarding potential harm to the green belt. 

For planners and developers, this turn of events offers food for thought. In the context of the current NPPF consultation and the weight afforded to housing shortfall, this is a really interesting decision and could perhaps set a precedent for similar schemes going forward. 

In arriving at the decision, the planning inspector had to balance many different considerations. These included:  

  • Harm to the green belt 

  • The transport modes available to residents 

  • The volume of affordable housing proposed in a fairly unaffordable area 

  • The value of the land to the community in its current developed state 

  • The economic benefits 

  • How positively it addresses the housing and housing land supply shortfall  

  • The biodiversity it would bring 

  • And more 

In the mind of the planning inspectorate, the major benefit of the scheme was the house supply boom it brought to an area where it was already very challenging to find viable land for development.  

Wrapping up, the Inspector stated: 

“… the appeal scheme would assist in addressing the acute and persistent housing supply shortfall and would deliver affordable housing in an area of high need. The appeal scheme would provide other benefits including the reuse of brownfield land, the accumulation of economic benefits and a net gain in biodiversity. Emerging policy also seeks to release the appeal site from the GB for housing. Overall, the cumulative benefits of the appeal scheme are other considerations of a very high order.  

…Protecting the GB is a matter of great importance to the Government, and I have considered the proposal with this in mind. However, in this instance, the identified harm would be clearly outweighed by the other considerations identified. Accordingly, the very special circumstances necessary to justify the development have been demonstrated…” 

The weight afforded to the undersupply of affordable housing in the local area will catch the eye of developers. It‘ll be interesting to see if this opens to door for more affordable housing schemes coming forward on Green Belt sites, especially in areas of high need and low affordability.  


Eden is active across a number of schemes in Trafford and is well placed in constructing very special circumstances cases. If you have an opportunity you want to discuss, contact us today to get started.