Less than substantial harm significant enough for driveway refusal

A swept driveway and automatic gates at a listed building in a residential area of south west London were refused for their failure to preserve the listed building and its setting and their harmful effect on the operation of the highway.

The proposal affected a former school, granted permission to be converted into flats in 2014, built in 1906 in the baroque style. The building had a landscaped front apron with two entrances, one for boys and one for girls and this, the inspector noted, was significant in understanding the historic significance of the building.

The proposal would result in the creation of two larger vehicular entrances with automatic gates and a swept driveway, all of which, the inspector considered would strike at the heart of the functionality of the building and have a negative effect on it and its setting. As the proposal left the main central building unaffected, the inspector held the scheme represented less than substantial harm. He gave this harm considerable weight in the planning balance, however, on the basis there were no discernible public benefts to the scheme as off-street parking to the building was very close by. This harm and the loss of the on-street parking resulting from it rendered the scheme unacceptable.

Inspector: Callum J A Parker; Hearing

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