Retirement apartment design and parking supported with costs

An appeal involving 35 retirement apartments in a Somerset town centre has been allowed with a partial award of costs in favour of the appellant due to the council's decision to refuse permission contrary to officer advice.

The council’s concerns focused on two issues, the design and massing of the two blocks, and the level of on-site car parking which would undermine highway safety, it asserted. In relation to the first issue the inspector noted that there was no uniform style to buildings in the area and the modern but not overly contemporary design of the two four-storey blocks would give them a 21st century appearance which would also respect the architectural periods of buildings around them through the use of slate, brick and render.

With regard to on-site car parking the highway authority had given clear advice that no more than eight spaces were justified although the council asserted that between 35 and 40 spaces were required. In the inspector's opinion the council had failed to substantiate this reason for refusal since there was little evidence that it would give rise to harmful levels of on-street parking. There was no hint that members of the planning committee had regard to the site’s town centre location when deciding the car parking issue. Its evidence to support this reason for refusal was vague and had led the appellant to incur unnecessary expense.

Inspector: Gareth Symons; Written representations

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