A Surrey developer has successfully defied conservation quango English Nature’s ban on housing over 300 square miles of south-east England.

Planning inspector Keith Freeman has granted Arcadia Ventures’ appeal against Rushmoor council’s refusal for a 24-flat scheme in Farnborough, Hampshire. The site is in the Surrey Heath area, which is affected by the freeze.

EN has been instructing councils that they should refuse permission for housing on the grounds that new residents would disrupt the rare bird species that nest on the heath.

But Freeman ruled that the extra homes would not greatly add to the area’s population.

The South East England Regional Assembly has published a report identifying 600 public sector sites that could provide members of the public with alternative recreational land.