The inspector considered the main issue was the impact of the proposed dwellings on the appearance and character of the area with particular respect to the heritage significance of the existing turn of the 20th century textile factory buildings to be replaced, and whether they could be viably retained in part or full.
The inspector felt the buildings made a valuable contribution to the appearance of the streetscene and the character of the area generally. He noted part of the site had already been demolished under permitted development rights but the facade still remained. The inspector referred to a previous appeal on the site where the then inspector found the loss of the buildings as a heritage asset was not justified due to an absence of vaibility evidence that at least part of the building could not be retained in any new scheme. In this case however, viability evidence was provided that the retention of the facade would make the residential scheme financially unviable and there was no counter evidence from the council to refute this. Given the scheme was in outline, the inspector held the council could have full control over the design of the proposal at reserved matters stage and concluded the harm to the character and appearance of the area from the loss of the heritage asset could be compensated for by the positive contribution a sensitively designed scheme could have.
Inspector: Mike Hayden; Written Representations