DC Casebook: Community facilities - Costs awarded as crime fears overruled

The developers of a 40-bed care home on Tyneside have won permission and a partial award of costs against the local authority after an inspector found most of its concerns unwarranted.

The scheme had been refused permission against officers' advice. Members asserted that its size would affect local residents' amenity, increase risk of crime and antisocial behaviour and prejudice highway safety. In particular, they maintained that a fence next to public footpaths would create a tunnelling effect with blind corners, allowing those with ill intent to loiter.

The inspector found that overshadowing of gardens would be minimal. The footpaths would not be significantly less pleasant than many on an adjoining estate bounded by two-storey homes, he held. Provision of 12 off-street parking spaces was 50 per cent more than the council's maximum and this would be adequate, he decided.

The majority of the council's concerns were unfounded, he decided. Claims that the scheme would increase crime or antisocial behaviour were spurious and there was little evidence that the development would undermine highway safety, he held. However, he agreed that members had not acted unreasonably in alleging a degree of overshadowing, since they were entitled to form a subjective judgement on this matter.

DCS Number 100-069-181

Inspector Malcolm Rivett; Written representations.

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