Loss of heritage asset justified for regeneration benefits

A mixed-use development of up to seven storeys at a former coroner’s court in a South Yorkshire city was approved with no harm to the appearance and character of the area despite the loss of a non-designated heritage asset. The scheme comprised the demolition of the red brick, two-storey former courthouse and redevelopment for retail and commercial units at ground floor and 77 residential apartments above over five, six and seven storeys.

400-027-190 (Image Credit: Urbana Town Planning)
400-027-190 (Image Credit: Urbana Town Planning)

In assessing the proposed replacement scheme first, the inspector held that although significantly larger than the existing building at the site, the proposal would adhere to a number of the main character elements of its surroundings, being of red brick and of a form to echo the grid pattern of the area and not considerably higher than other buildings nearby or across the river. He felt the proposal would assist in improving the overall physical environment of the area and its general vitality and make a positive contribution to its character and appearance. 

The existing building was recognised as a townscape asset in an action plan and a significant building in an urban design compendium for this mostly industrial riverside area. The council and appellant had agreed the building constituted a non-designated heritage asset. The inspector considered its significance related to its former historical use and its physical fabric, albeit it was now in a state of considerable disrepair. Whilst the inspector accepted the demolition of the building would result in the loss of what remained of its significance, he felt the proposal afforded the opportunity of bringing a previously developed site in an accessible location back into use contributing to housing supply, the local economy and regeneration benefits. He concluded the benefits outweighed the complete loss of the asset.

Inspector: Darren Hendley; Written representations

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