The council has already granted listed building consent for the conversion work but had reservations concerning the impact of car parking on the setting of the building and traffic generation causing additional congestion at a river bridge crossing ahead of planned major improvements. The appellant also disputed a requirement for financial contributions of nearly half a million pounds towards affordable housing and infrastructure, citing viability issues.
Subject to conditions ensuring long term management of open space and mature trees around the building, the reporter considered the immediate setting of the listed buildings would be protected. In recognition of the urgency of repairing and bringing the decaying listed building back into use, the reporter concluded that the best way forward to resolve whether the normal contribution requirements would render the scheme unviable would be to issue a notice of intention and for the appellant and council to look at the finacial position and negotiate whether or not an obligation was necessary and any terms.
In respect of congestion at the river crossing junction, the reporter found it unlikely that the flat conversion alone or in combination with a wider housing scheme on the hospital land would make much difference to the existing problems. On the basis of this conclusion, and taking into account that the dwellings would not be occupied much before the highway works were completed, the reporter saw no reason to delay development and risk further deterioration of the listed hospital buildings.
Reporter: Dan Jackman; Inquiry