Bowling club loss undermines community open space provision

Plans to redevelop a bowling green in south-east London would undermine the provision of community open space, an inspector determined rejecting an appellant's claim that the loss of space would be partly offset by gardens within five dwellings planned on the site.

The inspector was unconvinced by further claims by the appellant that the site did not make a significant contribution to the surrounding built form and that its loss would represent a small proportion of the total community space within the borough. In the inspector’s opinion the given the council’s planning policies, a clear justification for any loss was required. Indeed, the blwoling club had a full membership and was well supported, the inspector observed.

Turning to the issue of enabling development and plans by the appellant to replace the facility on a nearby site which already had permission for a new facility, there were benefits in terms of improved provision and the ability to enable disabled bowls players to participate. It would also allow indoor bowls to occur which would be beneficial in winter months. But no substantive evidence had been provided to confirm the inability of the existing site to be redeveloped with new facilities other than some disruption would occur during the period of redevelopment. Consequently, the inspector was unable to conclude that the scheme represented a form of enabling development which justified the loss of the site and was proportionate in terms of the new facilities provided on an alternative site. The appeal was dismissed.

Inspector: A Spencer-Peet; Hearing

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