Borough loses office-to-resi permitted development appeal

A London borough's refusal of a request to convert a large Twickenham office block into 41 new homes has been overturned by a planning inspector.

Bridge House (Michael Rogers Property Management)
Bridge House (Michael Rogers Property Management)

The London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames has received more than 270 office to residential change of use applications since the government's changes to permitted development rights came into effect in May 2013.

Earlier this year it refused a request for the conversion of a four-storey 1980s office block, Bridge House, for residential use.

It cited the absence of a parking survey and "severe transport and highway impacts" on the local area among its grounds for turning down the Raphael Freshwater Memorial Association’s request.

But planning inspector Christina Downes has sided with the applicant in approving the change of use for the vacant building, which is next to Twickenham Station.

In her decision notice, Downes questioned Richmond Council’s highways concerns, but accepted some of its fears over parking issues.

"The information provided indicates that the amount of traffic generated by the proposed residential use is likely to be significantly less that the lawful use as offices," she said.

"The council has not objected to the use on this ground and there is no evidence that harmful highway impacts would arise in this respect."

Downes said that a proposed redesign of the building’s car park coupled with the creation of an acceptable parking control scheme would alleviate Richmond’s concerns.

She added that while the risk of the site’s contamination through a former use as a rubber factory was "low", a condition requiring further pre-development research would detect any issues.

The Memorial Association lost its bid for costs against the authority.

Click through for Planning's exclusive office-resi special report.

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