Cliff erosion risk precludes safe occupation of flats

The demolition of a dwelling on the Dorset coast to enable the construction of a block of flats would potentially place future occupants at risk as a result of the coast being eroded within the next 100 years.

The site lay within an area designated as a potential 100-year cliff top recession band although the appellant’s consultant argued that this was not a significant risk given the distance of the site from the cliff edge and likely rates of erosion. But an inspector decided that irrespective of whether the limit was reached, the physical effects of erosion would be experienced well in advance of the eroding cliff face potentially affecting areas of land close by, including the road access which lay closer to the sea. Since a permanent permission was being sought the scheme would give rise to unacceptable levels of risk to future occupants.

Linked to this concern, was the impact of a three-storey block of flats on the character of the area. The inspector decided that it would not integrate with the surrounding buildings and in addition would adversely affect the outlook from a neighbouring property thereby harming their living conditions.

Inspector: Benjamin Webb; Written representations

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