The 1ha site contained a 4,000m2 former cash-and-carry warehouse that was temporarily being used as a haulage depot by demolition contractors. The appeal proposals involved between 148 and 155 homes, class B1 business floor space and community facilities. The council claimed that the land formed part of a major employment area. The appellants had not shown that the warehouse was unsuitable for redevelopment for employment purposes, it argued.
The inspector agreed that reuse or redevelopment of the site for employment would satisfy development plan policies intended to make efficient use of previously developed land and maintain an adequate supply of suitable sites and buildings. The B1 element would probably create fewer job opportunities than a complete redevelopment for industrial use, she opined.
She also expressed concern that the schemes would affect the semi-rural character of adjoining metropolitan open land, blocking views and dominating the generally open surroundings. They also failed to deliver sufficient social rented affordable housing units and the three-bedroom flats proposed lacked adequate private amenity space, she advised.
The secretary of state concluded that mixed-use redevelopment of the site was not objectionable in principle. However, she agreed that the schemes would dominate two conservation areas and harm the openness of metropolitan open land. The appellants had given no adequate explanation for proposing that 54 per cent of the affordable units should be for rent against the council policy requirement for 70 per cent, she observed.
DCS Number 100-051-161
Inspector Jean Jones; Inquiry.