Inadequate planning obligation becomes main issue

A mixed residential and business redevelopment of rundown commercial buildings in a north Yorkshire town failed to secure consent because a legal agreement to secure financial contributions towards local services and facilities would not bind the landowner.

400-013-156 (Image Credit: Harrogate BC)
400-013-156 (Image Credit: Harrogate BC)

The inspector was persuaded by the appellant’s assessment that retaining and improving the substandard employment site with poor commercial access would not be viable, finding the evidence robust. He also noted that the scheme would, in any event, provide 559 square metres of new commercial floorspace in lieu of an affordable housing contribution.

The council had also objected that the housing mix was biased towards larger properties, the scheme proposing 16 three bedroom dwellings and 20 four bedroomed properties. The inspector, however, noted that three bedroom homes were part of the preferred mix identified in the Council’s Strategic Housing Market Assessment and there was no site specific requirement and other larger sites would come forward that would include smaller dwellings.

Having found no harm on two of the main issues, the inspector was unable to allow the appeal having identified the adequacy of a unilateral undertaking also to be a main issue and finding errors and omissions rendered the legal agreement unsound, the necessary contributions towards local services and facilities were not secured and the appeal failed.

Inspector: R W Allen; Written representations

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