Proximity to hospital no bar to housing scheme

Outline permission for up to 55 dwellings in Somerset has been granted despite concerns about the impact on the function of an adjacent hospital.

200-004-240 (Image Credit: Grass Roots Planning Ltd)
200-004-240 (Image Credit: Grass Roots Planning Ltd)

The council accepted that it could not demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, an inspector noted. The site comprised an access through the existing hospital car park leading to an open field located on the edge of the town. The hospital had up to 28 beds and catered for post-operative or end-of-life patients in addition to its more general community hospital role. The inspector did not underestimate the concern expressed by people working at and connected with the hospital but did not find that the proposed road access through the hospital car park would increase highway safety risks. Nevertheless, he noted that the proposal set out in an illustrative masterplan presented an uncomfortable and potentially harmful relationship between public areas and the hospital grounds. However, he considered that these matters could be addressed through conditions leading to a reserved matters application that would provide for suitable demarcation and the provision of a landscaped area of public open space with adequate boundaries to the hospital.

The inspector also noted that a submitted travel plan would serve to support alternative sustainable transport choices, and he was satisfied that the reserved matters would allow for landscaping proposals and an overall design ethos and layout to address the site’s location on the urban fringe.

Inspector: Mike Robins; Inquiry

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