The mid nineteenth century building lay within a horseshoe shaped complex of barracks buildings and had functioned as the mess or shared social area before being converted to a leisure complex serving the residential conversion of the sleeping quarters buildings, in a scheme permitted in 2000. The leisure complex had not proven viable and had fallen into disuse, becoming derelict.
The appellant asserted that the works proposed were necessary to achieve a practical and viable division into five units and the scheme needed to be feasible in terms of the local residential market, which supported smaller units. In the inspector’s assessment, the proposed conversion works would destroy the open internal spaces significant to the historic function of the building, give formality to the informal rear, and historic fabric would be lost.
The inspector criticised the lack of detailed viability evidence from the appellant and was not persuaded that residential accommodation reflected the optimum viable use of the building, being a use which was not sensitive to the historic significance of the building. Deciding a robust case had not been made for the harmful works, and also finding inadequate light or private amenity space for occupiers, the inspector concluded the heritage and planning benefits of the scheme were limited and dismissed the appeals.
Inspector: Claire Searson; Written representations