Casebook: Drainage issue foils Cardiff flats on Sunday school site

A proposal to redevelop a former Sunday school in Cardiff as 14 flats has been refused following concerns that it would overload the local sewerage system, although the inspector accepted that the contemporary design proposed for the site was acceptable in townscape terms.

The site lay opposite a grade II listed Methodist chapel in a Romanesque style. Although designed by the same architect, the school had not been considered worthy of statutory listing and was not mentioned in the list description for the chapel. The inspector noted that the main facade of the chapel had clearly been designed to be a focal point in the view along the crescent.

He considered that a modern and contemporary block of flats would not be an incongruous element in the varied visual context of the street scene.

He held that the present building on the site was of modest architectural interest and lacked the inherent architectural quality of the listed chapel.

Although recognising that there had once been some functional connection between the buildings, the inspector saw no strong architectural affinity.

He felt that the replacement was an "elegant essay" in contemporary style.

It would provide an acceptable addition to the stylistically varied street scene and to the setting of the listed building, he held.

The inspector noted that the water authority had objected on the grounds that the development would overload the local sewerage system and that no improvements were planned in its capital investment programme. He acknowledged that the appellants were prepared to fund the upgrading of the sewers.

However, he held that it was unsatisfactory to deal with the matter by means of negative conditions and that the only adequate way forward was through a section 106 agreement or undertaking. In that light, he concluded that the only course of action was to dismiss the appeal, although he made it clear that he would have granted permission had the drainage issue been resolved.

DCS No: 29942373; Inspector: Peter MacDonald; Written representations.

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