Rabbi's house next to synagogue refused for harm to nationally acclaimed conservation area

On- site accommodation for a Rabbi to support the running of a synagogue in a conservation area in an East Sussex town was refused for its failure to preserve or enhance the appearance or character of the conservation area in which it was located and harm to the living conditions of adjoining occupiers.

The conservation area in which the site was located was recognised by the inspector as one of the finest examples of Regency and early Victorian planning and architecture in the country, characterised by the formality of its historic street pattern and open spaces. She felt the synagogue itself, a locally listed building, had significant landmark value, which made a positive contribution to the conservation area. The proposed house would replace an unused small hall next to the synagogue.

In assessing the visual impact of the proposal on the conservation area, the inspector felt the proposed height, scale and siting of the two storey dwelling would unacceptably intrude in front of the established building in the road, making it harmfully prominent and it would block views of the important terraced houses adjoining, appearing dominant and incongruous. Furthermore the proposal would disrupt the views of the locally listed synagogue itself.

The inspector also found the proposal would have an unacceptably overbearing effect on the living conditions of adjoining occupiers by virtue of its height, scale and siting near to the back gardens and windows of the adjoining terrace. Whilst she accepted the positive security aspects of the scheme for the running of the synagogue, and had regard to the Equality Act 2010 in respect of protected characteristics, she concluded there were sufficient reasons to respect the development plan policies in this case and refused the appeal.

Inspector: Joanna Reid; Written representations

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