The main issues were the effect of the amalgamation on the architectural and historic interest of the listed building and on the supply of housing.
The inspector noted that the grade II listed Edwardian mansion house had been much altered following its bombing in WWII, but she felt these alterations were an important part of the history of the building. In re-instating the pre-war floorplan of the flats, she found the proposed amalgamation works would not preserve the significance of the grade II listed building, as derived from its historic interest, causing less than substantial harm for which there were no public benefits to outweigh. The approval of the proposal could also be used in support of similar schemes within the mansion block which would exacerbate the harm.
In terms of the loss of the dwelling, the inspector noted the strategic local and regional plan policies to resist the loss of housing and achieve and exceed annual targets. She placed significant weight on the evidence contained within the council’s annual monitoring report which demonstrated that the five-year housing land supply only had a buffer of around 20 units and the net loss of amalgamations had yet to be factored in and could deplete the marginal supply. She considered that the loss of a single planning unit would have an adverse effect on the supply of housing within the borough.
Inspector: Claire Searson; Written representations