Casebook: Development Control - Homes refused on plant site due to harm to town setting

The redevelopment of a former sewage treatment works in a Cornish town with nine houses has been rejected primarily because it would harm the area's character and appearance and conflict with the development plan and national policies for the location of housing.

The inspector observed that the site was easily seen from a number of locations due to its position next to the Tamar Estuary. He considered that the most significant of these views was from a parking area on the opposite side of bridges over the river. He remarked that the bridges formed an important entrance point to both the town and the county of Cornwall.

He accepted that the site was previously developed land and that the proposal would lead to more efficient use of the former works than an approved scheme for four dwellings. However, he was concerned that three of the proposed houses would seriously diminish the site's role as a green foreground to the town.

The inspector noted that the three dwellings would lie in open countryside outside the urban development limit. He took heed of PPG3's advice that new homes should not compromise the quality of the environment and should be informed by the wider context of the locality and a structure plan policy requiring proposals to have regard to settlements' character.

DCS No: OT100-045-697; Inspector: Mike Hetherington; Inquiry.

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