Replacement high street building fails to respect historic pattern

The redevelopment of a builder's yard in an east London conservation area with starter office floorspace, A3 uses and residential units was rejected, an inspector finding that it would harm the character and appearance of the area and the setting of a listed building.

The scheme would take the form of five flats above the commercial units in a building fronting the high street together with a mews building accommodating two live-work units and five flats. A village conservation area preservation and enhancement scheme (SPD) prepared by the council acknowledged the commercial aspects of the centre, but also emphasised the strong village character. The document also noted that there was room for contemporary design within the village but that the historic heights set by the parades of the high street must be respected.  The proposal included for a three storey building fronting the high street. The third floor would be recessed back from the main elevation to provide a penthouse and balcony for outdoor amenity space fronting the high street. The inspector took the view that this roof treatment would be totally at odds with the general form and pattern of traditional roof treatment along the high street. In addition, the she found that the two storey building at the rear would fail to respect the existing subservience between the frontage buildings and the backland area.

A grade II listed block of flats was located to the rear of the site boundary. The inspector observed that its style was unique to the location and its setting, including well maintained communal gardens. She considered that the new building, which would be significantly larger in scale and massing than the existing building, would have an unacceptably dominant effect on the setting of the listed building.

The inspector also found that the close distance between the two new buildings would result in an inadequate level of privacy for occupants and that the rear building would have an overbearing impact on the outlook from the existing block of flats at the rear.

Inspector: Christa Masters; Hearing

DCS Number 200-004-178


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