Backland housing judged in keeping with 1930s suburb

A development of six houses on a backland site created from very large rear gardens and accessed through a demolished house won the approval of an inspector who found no harm to the established character of a traditional suburb in a Surrey town.

The council had refused planning permission on the sole ground that it would be an alien form of development in an otherwise undeveloped back garden location, which failed to maintain the spacious character of the locality.

Giving careful consideration to area character, the inspector decided the council had taken too narrow an approach and it was the broad locality that needed to be taken into account and not just the immediate vicinity of the site in assessing impact of development, as indicated in the reasoned justification of the council’s own policy. As the appellant pointed out, there was already significant development of a very similar pattern to the proposal on the opposite side of the road and elsewhere in the area. The inspector noted that, as with the appeal scheme, these were detached houses with ample gardens set in a linear arrangement facing the rear gardens of the frontage properties, and sharing similar characteristics with the frontage dwellings.

Having regard to the pattern of development on both sides of the road, the inspector found the appeal scheme to be in-keeping, with plot sizes and spacings between buildings reflective of the surrounding area. The scheme therefore satisfied the requirements of council backland policy and would maintain area character and he allowed the appeal.

Inspector: Robert Mellor; Written representations

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