Casebook: Appeal Cases - Community facilities - Medical centre approved despite gap location

Plans for a two-storey medical centre incorporating a pharmacy and dentist's surgery in a local landscape gap in Hampshire have been supported after an inspector decided that there was a pressing need for the facility.

The gap was intended to preserve the character of local settlements but the council opposed the development because it would lead to the loss of an open field. The appellants responded that local health practices were heavily used and incapable of meeting needs. The inspector agreed that a purpose-built facility would further the aims of the local health care trust.

Alternative sites had been investigated but the appeal site had the benefit of being centrally placed relative to the settlements that it would serve, he noted. Although other sites might become available, he accepted that there were problems associated with their acquisition. Given the relatively modest impact of the proposal on the area's character and appearance, he allowed the appeal.

DCS No: 54903352; Inspector: John Papworth; Hearing.

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