Previous appeal decision superseded by policy framework changes

Despite a successful appeal in 2004 which permitted the construction of retirement apartments adjacent to a Devon conservation area, an inspector decided that a similar proposal for 36 units should be rejected because of the government's aim of securing good design.

The council confirmed that the height of the building which would replace an existing hotel, was acceptable and the architectural appearance of the apartments was not in dispute. It did however oppose the increased footprint and massing which was at odds with the historic pattern of development in the area.

Since the previous appeal in 2004 there had been changes to the relevant planning policy and guidance the inspector concluded with the government attaching great importance to the design of the built environment. Good design was a key aspect of sustainable development and indivisible from good planning. The council had also adopted a supplementary planning document on design and as now proposed the building would span the site which was out of character with the area; the latter comprising villas set in spacious curtilages. It would have a bulky appearance and contrary to the appellant’s claims more recent developments on the opposite the appeal site, had not made a positive contribution to local character and distinctiveness. It would therefore also fail to respect the setting of the conservation area.

Inspector: Jonathan Manning; Hearing

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