The principle of housing being a suitable use for the site was not in dispute but the council opposed the loss of the church and considered the proposed part three storey building out of keeping with the mainly traditional two storey terraced housing townscape and overbearing on a neighbour.
The inspector acknowledged the loss of the imposing church would have a clear impact on the character and visual amenity of the area but recorded that it was not a listed building and did not have protection as a heritage asset. The appellant also confirmed the church had been offered to a community group but no viable alternative use had been found to date and it was in poor structural condition. The inspector held that loss of the church did not weigh against the proposal.
With regard to townscape impact, the inspector considered the three storey mass of the replacement building broken up with a varied roof form and materials would turn and close the corner plot visually and successfully transition between modest two storey terraces and larger detached dwellings beyond, thereby enhancing the street scene rather than appearing out of scale as the council claimed. On the final issue, she did not find that the privacy or outlook of a neighbouring house would be materially harmed and allowed the appeal.
Inspector: Melissa Hall; Written representations