The inspector considered the proposed alterations required to the ground floor of the public house, which included the demolition of some internal walls, would have an adverse impact on the significance of the listed building. Equally, the inspector was concerned that the basement and upper floors of the building would be separated from the ground floor and left unused which could cause adverse effects to the fabric of the building and its hierarchy of spaces and uses. Whilst the inspector acknowledged the retail use would provide a productive partial new use for a vacant building in the local shopping frontage, contributing to its retention in the long term, she held that the limited evidence provided did not adequately demonstrate that a use for the building as a whole would neither be feasible nor viable and a retail use was not therefore necessarily the optimum use, considerably reducing the overall public benefits of the scheme.
The highway safety issue of concern in the appeal related to the effect of a 4.3-metre-wide access to the site and limited forward visibility which the inspector felt would involve the potential of vehicles having to reverse onto the highway when coming face to face with other vehicles, especially delivery lorries, exiting the site. The inspector took into account the traffic generation of the former public house, the town centre location of the appeal site and the provision of public transport facilities nearby in reaching the conclusion that the access would cause harm detrimental to highway safety.
Inspector: A Napier; Hearing