Casebook: Mixed brownfield proposals rejected on design grounds

The redevelopment of a petrol filling station on Tyneside as two commercial units and ten flats has been rejected on the grounds that it would harm the area's character and appearance and neighbours' living conditions.

Nearby development included a substantial office building and a large pub, more modest commercial buildings to the rear of the property and traditional suburban estate houses and bungalows. In the inspector's view, the site lay in a sustainable and highly accessible urban location where high-density residential development would be appropriate in principle.

However, he felt that the proposal did not acknowledge guidance in PPG3 insisting that considerations of design and layout must be informed by the wider context. Given that the scheme would be viewed in the context of the wider locality as well as its immediate neighbours, he judged that its height, siting and massing would be unduly dominant and insensitive.

It would have an inadequate contextual relationship to its surroundings despite the greater height of the adjacent offices, he ruled.

The inspector found that the proposal would lead to overlooking and loss of privacy for occupiers of nearby homes and that its height and scale would affect their outlook. He acknowledged that national and local planning policies encourage efficient reuse of land in settlements and noted the local demand for key worker accommodation, but held that this should not be secured at the expense of the area's character and appearance.

DCS No: 100039126; Inspector: Mike Moffoot; Written representations.

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