Ship design judged out of place for warehouse unit

Employment benefits arising from a proposed warehouse unit do not outweigh harm to the appearance and setting of a historic part of Portsmouth resulting from its unusual design, an inspector has decided.

The appeal site lay opposite the city’s listed naval dockyards, next to a Victorian conservation area and close to a grade I listed museum. While the inspector considered that the area would benefit from some high-quality redevelopment, she felt that the scale, mass, design and use of materials proposed for the scheme’s main unit, which was shaped like a ship, would result in an aggressive and foreboding development at an important strategic gateway.

In her view, the proposal would not be a complementary or respectful acknowledgement of the city’s history or nearby heritage assets and would fail in its aim of creating an interesting landmark style. She acknowledged that the NPPF asks decision-makers not to impose particular architectural styles, but held that it also requires designs to respond to local distinctiveness. The proposed design was too overbearing, she found.

In addition, the inspector remarked that the appeal site was clearly shown as being safeguarded for a new road layout. It followed that the proposal would be in clear conflict with the development plan, since it would use land that had been identified as necessary to accommodate the delivery of strategic infrastructure improvements to facilitate greater connectivity within areas identified as opportunities for growth in the development plan. 

Inspector: Johanna Ayres; Written representations

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