Homes and offices backed after design and tenure held suitable

A mixed-use scheme of 113 residential units and 455m2 of office space has been allowed in Norwich after a ruling that it would harm neither the area's appearance and character nor the setting of two conservation areas and would provide an appropriate mix of housing.

Although the site was sandwiched between two conservation areas, the inspector accepted that it was very different in character from either of them. She considered that the scheme responded to the varied local townscape context by creating its own architectural identity and a distinctive contemporary design.

The appeal proposal comprised a mix of houses and flats with a choice of tenure. The inspector considered that the scheme would reflect the principles of good urban design with regard to diversity, continuity and enclosure, legibility and the public realm and would provide a pleasant environment for future occupiers.

She conceded that the density of development would be somewhat higher than that of the terraced housing nearby. However, she did not consider it to be excessive, bearing in mind the density of schemes recently granted permission elsewhere in the city and the government's aim of promoting the efficient use of land for housing on brownfield sites in accessible urban locations.

The inspector noted that the proportion of affordable residences would slightly exceed the council's target of 30 per cent. The council's housing manager was happy with the percentage and mix of such units proposed in the scheme, she found. On that basis, she was satisfied that the affordable housing element would be appropriate to the needs of local people who were unable to buy or rent accommodation on the open market.

She took into account the council's concerns about the large number of flat-based schemes coming onto the market in the city. However, she remarked that unlike many projects permitted in Norwich in recent years, the appeal proposal provided a mix of houses and flats rather than an exclusively apartment-based development.

DCS Number 100-050-364

Inspector Linda Wride; Hearing.

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