Sheltered homes rejected over neighbourhood plan clash

Harm to the character of a West Sussex town and loss of a non-designated heritage asset have led to refusal of a 46-unit sheltered housing scheme, despite a housing land shortfall in the locality.

200-009-080 (Image Credit: Arun DC)
200-009-080 (Image Credit: Arun DC)

A policy in a neighbourhood development plan (NDP) recently approved at referendum promoted a residential scheme of around 24 dwellings on the site. The policy sought a mix of dwelling types, including an appropriate level of affordable housing with consideration given to first-time buyers and renters. It also advocated retention of a non-designated former brewery building on the site.

The inspector judged that the height and length of the sheltered flats would appear unacceptably dominant and out of keeping with the area’s character. The appellants, he concluded, had not paid enough regard to the quantum of development promoted in the neighbourhood plan. In dismissing their claim that retention of the old brewery building was not viable, he noted that their viability assessment did not consider all potential development options, including that enshrined in the NDP policy.

Regarding the type and mix of dwellings proposed, the inspector acknowledged that there was a need to continue to provide appropriate accommodation for elderly people in the district, in accordance with local plan policy. But he also held there was no imperative for such accommodation to be provided on the appeal site, especially at a quantum almost double the community’s preferred density and at odds with the type of housing sought. 

Inspector: David Wildsmith; Inquiry

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