Canal basin redevelopment would harm area character

A scheme in Essex which involved the demolition of buildings associated with a canal lock and basin and replacement with 31 dwellings has been dismissed due to the harm it would cause to the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

The appeal site was a former timber yard that was associated with a canal and continued to trade until about 1988. The existing buildings were beyond economic repair and an SPD stated that the council would like the redevelopment of the site to be based on the bulk and form of the existing buildings which were seen as an asset and a positive development opportunity. It recommended that replacement buildings should utilise the footprint of the existing buildings and specified that proposals should reference the maritime and historical features of the Basin.

An inspector found that the appeal site occupied a prominent position within the village and that in its present state it detracted from the appearance of the village and the neighbouring conservation area. The proposal would deliver a number of benefits, including the provision of publicly accessible open space and would provide pedestrian and cycle links the between the village and canal. However the proposal would harm the character and appearance of the surrounding area, as well as harm the living conditions of surrounding residents. Moreover, the site was situated within Flood Zone 3, and there was clear evidence that there were other sites within the district at lesser risk of flooding.

Lesley Coffey; Inquiry

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