Casebook: Appeal case - Housing: New Build - Lifeboat crew fails to establish need for housing

Two houses to accommodate lifeboat crew manning a coastguard rescue station in a Kent conservation area have been rejected following a ruling that a clear need had not been demonstrated.

The appellant argued that there was an operational need for the crew to live within 5km of the station. He claimed that it was difficult to recruit qualified rescue personnel and high house prices meant that a number of the existing crew lived further from the station than was ideal.

He also pointed to a lack of affordable housing or suitable sites in the locality to meet the identified need.

The inspector noted that the appellant had submitted little evidence on the number, type and tenure of dwellings required to meet the claimed needs of the lifeboat crew. Two letters submitted by single men living with their parents and training to be crew members were insufficient to justify the scheme, she ruled.

She recognised that a condition could be imposed limiting occupation of the dwellings to lifeboat crew but expressed doubt as to whether this would ensure that the purchase price and rental costs would remain affordable. Such a condition would no doubt suppress the purchase price but this would not necessarily ensure that the homes were affordable for the intended users, she reasoned.

DCS No: OT100-045-553; Inspector: Elizabeth Lawrence; Hearing.

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