Condition preferred to obligation to secure replacement shop

A scheme to restore a listed cottage to residential use involving demolition of an unsympathetic extension and relocation of the Sussex village shop and post office to a new building won the support of an inspector content the potential loss of retail use could be avoided through a condition.

400-026-736 (Image Credit: Batchelor Monkhouse)
400-026-736 (Image Credit: Batchelor Monkhouse)

The council was concerned that there would be a risk of the development being implemented without the replacement store being built and the retail use lost to the community. The inspector rejected the appellants’ suggested condition for the new shop to be open for trading to the public within four weeks of the existing shop closing as unrealistic and unenforceable and also did not share the council’s preference for a planning obligation. He proposed instead an alternative condition, which would prevent residential occupation of the present store until the new store had been completed, so retaining a retail use if construction of the new store and flat above it did not go ahead. He concluded this would achieve the same ends as an obligation, which according to the NPPF should only be used where it is not possible to address unacceptable impacts through a planning condition.

Turning to the effects on the listed building, the inspector was of the opinion that the scheme would reveal more of its significance and improve setting by removing the flat roof modern extension and retaining a substantial gap between it and the new shop with a new house behind, which formed part of the proposals.

Inspector: Patrick Whelan; Written representations

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