Development Control Casebook: Community Facilities - Layout found incompatible with setting

A detailed layout for a retirement community comprising more than 400 dwellings in Suffolk has been rejected on the grounds that it fails to respect the setting of an ancient monument and adjoining buildings.

Outline permission was granted in 1997 and details were submitted within the three-year time limit. A 19th century fort was subsequently discovered and scheduled as an ancient monument. A revised application for more than 300 retirement dwellings and a care home was dismissed at appeal, prompting the appellants to resurrect the reserved matters application and submit a new layout which the council rejected.

The inspector supported the council's position. In his view, the scheme appeared to have been created in a piecemeal manner rather than forming a comprehensive proposal with proper regard to adjoining land and buildings in the appellants' control but outside the appeal site. He found it very difficult to support the scheme when the nature and disposition of development on land outside the appeal site was unknown.

The proposed retention of three buildings outside the appeal site but within the appellants' ownership was a worthy objective, he concluded. However, he feared that the relationship of a proposed leisure building would create a poor form of development, underlining the need for a comprehensive approach to the entire site. The layout had avoided building directly on the ancient monument and listed building but their settings would in some respects be compromised, he added.

DCS Number 100-069-776

Inspector David Hollis; Inquiry

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