Flat block design fails to preserve neighbour privacy

A five storey block of 51 flats on the site of a vacant three storey office building in a residential suburb of a city in Scotland was rejected on design grounds by a reporter.

There was no dispute among parties over the principle of residential development on the site but the council had objected to the height and massing of the proposed block of flats next to suburban two storey housing, amid strong local opposition.

The reporter noted the varied character of the residential area and was satisfied that the proposed development would be of a similar height to adjacent flats and would be in keeping with the immediate streetscape and wider skyline, respecting the local context in terms of layout, materials and detailing. However, she found that the detailed design, height and massing the development would damage the privacy and amenity of existing neighbours. Full-length windows, balconies and roof terrace at a relatively close distance to the back gardens and rooms of neighbouring houses would lead to overlooking and loss of privacy.

The reporter concluded that the small contribution the development would make to housing land supply in a sustainable location did not outweigh its failure to comply with local plan design policies. She also observed the presumption in favour of sustainable development of SPP was qualified by support for good design and protection of amenity, and the adverse impacts on adjacent residents outweighed the benefits of the scheme. On balance, she concluded that it did not contribute to sustainable development and dismissed the appeal.

Reporter: Lorna McCallum; Written representations

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