The overriding issue in this case was the impact of a steel staircase addition on the significance of a grade II listed building which was of red brick construction in the gothic revival style c.1881. The staircase was originally argued to be necessary to allow for the conversion of the former school to 14 flats without significant internal alterations. However, the inspector noted that more recent consents had been granted at the site for a scheme that involved acceptable internal alterations which negated the need for the external staircase.
Whilst the inspector considered the staircase was of simple and open form it could be seen from within the conservation area and other publicly accessible vantage points and concluded that it would result in harm to the significance of the finely detailed listed building albeit of less than substantial nature. In weighing up the public benefits of the scheme against this harm, the inspector referred to the recent consents granted without the staircase for the same number of flats and to the lack of evidence regarding their viability or otherwise. In concluding, the inspector held the harm to the listed building from the staircase addition was not outweighed by the public benefits which could be realised through the new consents.
Inspector: Jonathon Hockley; Written Representations