Revised scheme succeeds on reservoir street frontage

The construction of two blocks containing 26 residential units in north London was approved after the secretary of state recovered the appeal following the recent adoption of a neighbourhood plan.

A previous appeal involving development along the frontage of the reservoir site, a non-designated heritage asset, had been dismissed in 2013 on detailed design grounds. The appellant had re-submitted a revised scheme aimed at overcoming the issue. Despite planning officers supporting the scheme the council refused permission arguing that the changes did not substantially overcome the previous inspector’s concerns and was not in sympathy with the Victorian and Edwardian streetscape.

The scheme would infill a gap between three storey mansion blocks to the north and south, the inspector noted. The reservoir was mostly hidden below the surface of the appeal site which was also designated as open space and a site of nature conservation importance. But a much smaller proportion of the open space would be lost compared with the previous proposal and much of the nature conservation area would be retained. In the inspector's opinion the immediate character of the area did not reflect the rhythm, style and size of the terraced rows of substantial and highly ornate Victorian and Edwardian houses. The development would be of a similar height and depth to the adjacent mansion blocks and its scale and layout would be similar to others in the locality. It would not follow historic plot widths but four main projecting elements would provide a strong rhythm in the street scene reinforced by a vertical emphasis from the use of differently coloured bricks. The glazing would not appear excessive, the inspector opined, nor would it have a significant impact on the reservoir as a non-designated heritage asset.

The secretary of state agreed, concluding that the schemen did not conflict with the neighbourhood plan. It would provide a high standard of design reflecting the local setting, context and character. The minor reduction in open space would not be material nor undermine the value of the reservoir as a non-designated heritage asset.

Inspector: Thomas Shields; Hearing


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