Inspector allows west London office-to-resi PDR appeal

An inspector has approved plans to convert a vacant west London office block into more than 210 flats, finding that the proposals would have no significant adverse transport or highways impacts.

Planning Inspectorate: inspector has allowed office-to-residential PDR appeal
Planning Inspectorate: inspector has allowed office-to-residential PDR appeal

In a decision issued last week, inspector Richard Jones allowed an appeal against the London Borough of Hounslow’s decision to refuse to grant prior approval for an application to use Class O permitted development rights to convert a Brentford office block to 213 residential units.

The appeal relates to a vacant 10,665 square metre office building situated adjacent to the northern side of the A4, on a site bounded by Gunnersbury Park to the west and north and an office building to the east.

The prior approval application was refused by the London Borough of Hounslow in November 2016.

In its decision notice at the time, the council said that the proposed development, "by reason of its high provision of car parking spaces and location with poor access to public transport, a poor pedestrian and cycling environment, and in an area of poor air quality would not promote or provide for travel by sustainable modes of transport".

The decision notice added that, as such, "the proposed development would lead to a reliance on car-based travel".

In last week’s report, the inspector found that the proposed level of car parking - which equates to approximately 1.47 spaces per unit - is excessive.

But the inspector concluded that these concerns could be overcome through a planning condition relating to car parking, including measures to reduce provision.

The inspector’s report also found that, while the majority of the site has a public transport accessibility level (PTAL) of 2, which is considered to be poor, the main from pedestrian access point falls within PTAL level 3, "thereby indicating a moderate level of connectivity to public transport services".

The inspector concluded that, "on the basis of the evidence before me … the proposals would have no significant adverse transport or highways impacts and I find no conflict with paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework which states that development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the residual cumulative impacts of the development are severe".

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