Traffic lights ruled harmful to conservation area

Concerns over the visual impact of a traffic light system have led to dismissal of plans to replace garages in south-east London with two five-bedroom houses.

The inspector was concerned about the effect the proposal would have on the character and appearance of a conservation area, in particular from the proposed traffic light system. Apart from their location, he noted that no details on the height, size or appearance of the two traffic lights had been provided. They would need to be reasonably conspicuous in order to work effectively, he deduced.

The inspector acknowledged that traffic lights are not uncommon at busier road junctions in conservation areas and that the ones proposed for the appeal scheme might be more modest than those used at highway junctions, given their purpose.

However, he concluded that introducing them into the middle of a residential street with an attractive and historic domestic street scene, character and appearance was likely to create an alien and incongruous feature in harmful contrast to its surroundings. In this situation, he held that it would not be reasonable to rely on a condition to establish whether the design of the lights would be appropriate.

Inspector: Geoff Underwood; Written representations

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