98-home office-to-resi application allowed on appeal

A planning inspector has overturned a London borough's decision to block an application made under controversial permitted development rights to convert a nine-storey office block into 98 homes.

Trident House: appeal allowed
Trident House: appeal allowed

In May, the London Borough of Hillingdon refused applicant Galliard Homes Limited's prior approval application to convert Trident House in Hayes, which comprises more than 3,200 square metres of office floorspace, to 98 residential units.

Under the office-to-residential rules, introduced in May 2013, local planning authorities are able to assess proposed office conversions solely on the basis of their transport and highway impacts and contamination and flooding risks on the site.

In its decision notice, the London Borough of Hillingdon refused prior approval on the basis of the application's transport and highways impact.

"The development fails to provide satisfactory information to demonstrate that sufficient off-street parking facilities will be provided for future occupiers of the proposed flats. Furthermore, no disabled parking is provided," the decision notice said.

"The development would therefore result in additional parking on the surrounding highway network leading to situations prejudicial to highway and pedestrian safety and the free flow of traffic," the notice added.

The council's decision notice also said that the proposal "does not incorporate adequate facilities for the servicing of the premises" and added that the application had failed to provide an accurate transport appraisal to demonstrate that the proposal will not have unsatisfactory transport impacts.

But in a decision note issued last week, inspector Edward Gerry allowed Galliard Homes' appeal against the council's refusal of its prior approval application.

In the appeal decision, Gerry said that the "existing permitted use at the appeal site generates higher levels of vehicular movements than the use proposed".

The inspector concluded that "sufficient information has been provided to demonstrate that the development would not result in harm in terms of transport and highway impacts". The inspector added: "Although the development plan policies referred to by the council are noted, they do not demonstrate or substantiate an adverse impact in respect of transport and highway matters."

In September, an inspector overturned the London Borough of Bromley's decision to refuse to approve the change of use of an office block in Beckenham into 75 homes.

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