Modern replacement compares unfavourably to historic building

The demolition of a large Edwardian villa in a generous plot and its redevelopment with a block of ten flats in the suburbs of a Berkshire town failed largely due to the poor out-of-keeping design of the replacement building.

The council considered the existing building to be a heritage asset, and had concluded that the replacement building would harm the character and appearance of the area and would not justify its loss. Acknowledging the property had been excluded from a local list, the inspector nevertheless found the building had more than sufficient architectural significance to be a material consideration in determining the appeal. The inspector found much in the proposed design and layout that was out of keeping with the area, notably an uncharacteristic bulk and width to the building and a flat roof. In his view, the replacement scheme was incomparable to the architectural quality and heritage interest of the existing building on the site, and would not mitigate its loss, so conflicting with local policies and NPPF aim of securing high quality buildings and distinctive places to live which are also sympathetic to local character and history.

Other factors contributing to his decision to refuse permission for the scheme and dismiss the appeal were a lack of family-sized dwellings and lack of provision for an employment and skills plan or alternative contribution, in clear conflict with policies of the development plan.

Inspector: Patrick Whelan; Written representations

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