Tall buildings policy supported at prominent site in east London

A development of 58 flats over four floors above an existing five storey building on the corner of a trunk road roundabout in east London was refused for its harm to the appearance and character of the area, harm to the living conditions of future occupants and lack of a legal agreement to secure school places, affordable housing and car free development, contrary to adopted local policies.

The site had already been the subject of a recently refused appeal for 71 flats, which comprised five instead of four storeys. In reviewing the new scheme, the inspector held that because of its scale, horizontal emphasis and form, particularly its block like appearance, it was still out of character with the varied heights of properties in the immediate vicinity and contrary to the council’s tall buildings policy which required high quality designs. In addition, the inspector felt the height and overall scale would compromise the sense of space and openness in the street scene, harmful to the character and appearance of the surrounding area. 

The addition of balconies to the current scheme in lieu of amenity space did not prevent the inspector finding again that amenity space was still lacking overall. The council’s adopted guidance on the issue required larger balconies in terms of width and floor area in addition to communal space, but no communal space was provided in the scheme and many of the balconies were inadequately sized. The inspector concluded on a harmful effect on the living conditions of future occupiers.

An award of costs against the council was refused, the inspector considering that despite a decision being made against officer recommendation, this was fully justified with no unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary expense.

Inspector: B Bowker; Written representations

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