The authority’s local plan policies specifically sought that proposals should have regard to maintaining and responding positively to any natural and manmade features within the landscape and townscape which positively contributed to the character of the area, including water features. The appeal site was specifically referenced for protection and enhancement in the plan and Historic England felt the site was an important historic asset.
The inspector noted that the pool was part of a former inland port and the area was once characterized by wharf buildings, mills and timber yards adding to its industrial history, but that these had now all been redeveloped and much of the character lost. She did note, however, that the open nature of this part of pool was an intrinsic part of the conservation area which should be conserved. Considering the proposed two-storey building projecting out over the pool, she held that despite the increase in built development resulting from its scale and massing, it was not so excessive as to harmfully affect the openness of the area since large stretches of undeveloped land along the bank would remain. She felt the two existing restaurants recently approved nearby set a precedent in the area and the proposal was not that different in scale and design. She also felt the glazed ground floor design of the proposal allowed for views through to the open water beyond and concluded no harm to the appearance and character of the conservation area.
Inspector: Karen L Baker; Written representations