Loss of public house not overcome by poor redevelopment

The redevelopment of a public house for a retail use in a Northamptonshire village was refused for harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding conservation area and setting of nearby listed buildings not outweighed by the social and economic benefits of the proposal.

200-008-931 (Image Credit: Daventry DC)
200-008-931 (Image Credit: Daventry DC)

The overriding concern in the case was not the loss of the public house as a community use but its loss in principle in terms of its contribution to the character of the conservation area and the harm the replacement building would have on that character and the setting of nearby listed buildings. The inspector noted the village was characterised by ironstone buildings around a medieval street layout. He acknowledged the appeal site building was at odds with this general character as it was of more modern design in the Brewer’s Tudor style probably built between the World Wars, but accepted that it made a positive contribution to the appearance and character of the conservation area and was worthy of its non-designated heritage asset status afforded it by the council. This was mainly for its historical contribution to the character of the conservation area. In terms of the proposed replacement retail store, some 700 square metres in size, the inspector held the arrangement of the proposed building, including form, materials and detailing would not hold its own against the distinctive architectural context of the conservation area and listed buildings nearby.

In terms of use, the inspector found no harm to the character of the conservation area from a shop replacing a long disused public house close to two retained public houses. In concluding, the inspector opined that for the specific reasons concerning architectural design, the proposed development would not mitigate the harm from the loss of the existing building as a non-designated heritage asset, which held an important place in the significance of the conservation area. More decisively, the design aspects of the replacement would undermine the architectural significance of the conservation area, harming its appearance, and the setting of the surrounding listed buildings. Although the degree of harm was less than substantial in his view, the public social, environmental and economic benefits including employment, the reduction in trips to larger shops, and spending in the local economy would not outweigh the harm he had identified in the heritage planning balance. 

Inspector: Patrick Whelan; Hearing

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