The proposal comprised 83 flats and 158 square metres of flexible retail floorspace. One overriding issue in the appeal was whether the benefits of the mixed-use proposal overcame concerns about its scale, form and appearance in the context of the more modest heritage assets. The scheme proposed two, up to four-storey buildings spreading across a large part of the site in place of a single, albeit large, dis-used supermarket.
The inspector considered the scheme would introduce a dominant and overwhelming development. She felt the setting of the nearby listed buildings would be dwarfed by the size and overall height and massing of the proposal and that the proposal would dominate views out of the adjoining conservation area and harm its more modest setting. The appellant had put forward a number of public benefits that, in their view, would outweigh the less than substantial harm to the setting of the heritage assets that the inspector found. In considering these, the inspector held the proposal would regenerate the currently disused site which was in itself harmful to the significance of the heritage assets. She also felt a contribution towards the district’s supply of housing, including affordable housing, would be a benefit in the context of the housing shortfall in the area, and the sustainable location of the site was also in its favour. Additional housing close to the town centre would increase footfall and local work opportunities would be beneficial to the local economy. The above benefits were all to be commended, she opined. However, in order to achieve these the inspector concluded the harms to the general appearance and character of the area and the setting of nearby listed buildings and conservation area from the excessive scale, mass and unsympathetic design of the buildings, were just too significant and in direct conflict with the development plan.
Inspector: J Ayres; Written representations