The appellant highlighted the significant over-supply of employment land within the borough and in particular the wider area within which the appeal site lay. However, the inspector observed that the site was identified for its importance in the employment land hierarchy and formed part of a well-established industrial estate. Therefore, while there was a significant need to improve the supply of housing land, the inspector decided that the five-dwelling scheme would only make a modest contribution to increasing supply.
A further concern related to the predicted noise levels from road traffic and neighbouring industrial uses. The Inspector agreed that noise levels could be mitigated by the use of acoustic design measures. But there would be a requirement for upgraded acoustic glazing on more than one façade which was indicative of the contrived nature of the proposal, he opined. Nor had any information been provided to suggest that quieter sites were not available. Since noise levels from existing uses could also change in the future there was a risk that there would be complaints from future occupiers thereby impacting on the viability of the industrial uses.
Finally, the inspector also agreed that the development would adversely affect the character and appearance of the area. It would appear as an isolated form of housing that would jar with the immediate context which consisted primarily of employment uses.
Inspector: Richard Jenkins; Written representations