The grazing land site lay largely within the village framework and had been allocated for very sheltered housing. The inspector agreed that the small area of the site in the countryside outside of the settlement boundary helped to achieve a better scheme and policy conflict in this respect carried little weight. The council had recently resolved to grant permission for an alternative proposal for 57 extra care apartments and 12 bungalows, creating a fallback of significant weight, which the inspector assessed to have a lesser overall impact than the scheme before him.
The inspector found that the development would fail to preserve the setting of the main listed building, and harm the significance of the parkland as a non-designated heritage asset. It would also not reflect the character and appearance of the wider area or countryside, contrary to policy. Although the inspector accepted the retirement village would contribute to meeting an identified local housing need, she reduced the weight given to this benefit in the light of concerns over the level of care and eligibility criteria. The additional benefits of affordable housing and an accessible location were also noted, but overall the inspector decided the combined benefits did not outweigh heritage harm and dismissed the appeal.
Inspector: Debbie Moore; Hearing