New village shop would harm heritage assets

The erection of a convenience store in the car park of a village public house in Worcestershire was refused for harm to heritage assets not outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme. The assets affected were the non-designated public house itself, an adjoining listed house and the conservation area in which they were all located.

Although the appeal site comprised a car park to a public house, the inspector held it nevertheless provided an element of historic value to the open character of that non-designated heritage asset and whilst the scheme generally respected the scale, massing, and appearance of the public house, he found some harm to its significance through the loss of historic context. In relation to the adjoining grade II listed house, the inspector held the proposal would obstruct a large proportion of the wall of this historic building from public view, which he opined contributed to the significance of the building.

In terms of the impact on the conservation area the inspector considered the site formed part of a spacious setting to the public house, which he found expressive of the conservation area. He considered the significant increase in bulk and massing of the development that would be introduced to the site would be at odds with the prevailing character of  the conservation area. The inspector concluded there would be less than substantial harm to the conservation area and the setting of the public house and adjoining listed building. Whilst the proposal would seek to provide an additional convenience store for the community, the inspector concluded this benefit would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the significant harm that would be caused to the heritage assets. 

An award of costs against the council was refused, the inspector opining that the fact the council members overturned their officers’ recommendation for approval was irrelevant, as the members had fully substantiated their reasons for refusal in all but one case, relating to electric charging points, bicycle and motorcycle provision, and even that had not resulted in any delay for the appellant.

Inspector: W Johnson; Written representations

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