Members berated for refusing scheme on matters not under consideration

A mixed, hybrid scheme for retail and residential uses was approved on a vacant corner site in a Nottinghamshire town with no harm to the character and appearance of the area from the loss of a protected tree and no harm to the living conditions of nearby residents or to highway capacity and safety. The proposal included 204 residential apartments and 63 retirement living apartments set within five large blocks with associated parking and shared amenity space.

The inspector accepted the appellant’s arboriculture assessment that although the protected lime tree was of moderate landscape value, as it might only have a twenty-year life span and was not fundamental to the visual character of the surrounding area in her view, its loss would not render the proposal unacceptable. She also found that the appellant had adequately demonstrated that the proposed quantum of residential development in the outline proposal could be acceptably accommodated within the appeal site without undue harm to the living conditions of neighbouring residents, as a result of the blocks' potential setback, separation distances involved and existing landscape screening. The inspector further opined the council had put forward limited evidence to support their views that the cumulative impacts of nearby sports clubs, tram stops and residential accesses to the proposal and its proximity to a nearby junction, would be significantly harmful to the safety of the users of the highway and capacity of the surrounding highway network. The county council and Highways England had not objected to the proposal.

With regard to the appellant’s application for costs, the inspector concluded that council members had failed to substantiate their reasons for refusal in relation to the highway grounds and the impact of the proposed residential development on residential occupiers, since they had objected to aspects that were still to be dealt with by reserved matters. As a result, this led to the applicant having to incur unnecessary and wasted expense in relation to these two points and therefore, a partial award of costs was justified. 

Inspector: R Norman; Written representations

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