Permission for a slightly smaller scheme had been previously granted at the site but not implemented. The appellants had supported the new application with a basement impact assessment in accordance with the council’s supplementary planning document on the issue. Council officers had recommended approval of the proposed basement, but members were concerned about its impact on the structural integrity of the listed building and those either side in the adjoining terrace. The inspector opined that as the scheme was supported by technical evidence signed off by professional engineers, as per the SPD, saying that any risks to the integrity of the listed building would be "very slight", and the basement would only project below a modern 1990s extension to the listed building, it would not harm its historic fabric or that of adjoining buildings. As any visual impacts on the rear garden were minimal, he also opined the basement’s impact on the conservation area was negligible.
In awarding costs against the council, the inspector held members had acted unreasonably in not substantiating their reason for refusing the proposed basement when it clearly met adopted policy and SPD requirements.
Inspector: Nicholas Taylor; Written representations