Stopping up of alleyway harmful to conservation of historic city suburb

The owner of a mid-terrace house in a conservation area of Greater Manchester failed to secure permission to incorporate an alleyway into her private rear garden.

The cobbled pedestrian alleyway between terraced houses, known locally as a ginnel, ran along the back of the appellant’s property. She wished to erect brick piers and gates across the ginnel at the property boundaries, so as to incorporate it into her garden, whilst still allowing neighbour access out to the street. The appellant considered the ginnel a security threat and a poor environment degraded with litter and weeds, and claimed it was not currently used.  

The inspector accepted that the ginnel detracted from the appellant’s enjoyment of her property and decided the enclosure would cause less than substantial harm to a heritage asset but found insufficient public benefit to outweigh this level of harm. He judged that any improvement in maintenance, privacy and security would be limited to one or two properties and have very limited beneficial impact on the quality of environment and life in the wider conservation area.  The scheme would not comply with conservation area management plan policies referring to removal of architectural features, rear boundary walls and ginnels, and the inspector dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Nicholas Taylor; Written representations

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