The three hectares urban site had been cleared of hospital buildings for some time, leaving landscaped grounds boasting over one hundred mature trees accessible to local residents for informal recreation. Relying on an allocation of the site for community use, the council objected to the loss of the site to housing. The reporter, however, observed that the allocation reflected the previous hospital use and the current community recreational use was purely fortuitous and there had been no intention in the plan to protect the site as public open space. The reporter also noted that the allocation was out of date due to the age of the plan and an emerging plan did not seek to allocate the site as public open space or any other community use, concluding that the principle of housing on the site accorded with the development plan as a whole.
The proposed layout and number of houses necessitated the removal of over half of the mature trees on the site, for which the council was preparing a TPO. Expressing regret over the loss of so many mature trees, the reporter nonetheless concluded that to achieve a suitable access and make effective use of the land, an acceptable development retaining the most significant existing groups of trees had been achieved. Also finding the scheme acceptable in terms of traffic and highway safety, the reporter went on to allow the appeal.
Reporter: M Shiel; Written representations