After a gruelling 4 days for all concerned, the Public Inquiry into Linden Homes' application to build 44 houses on the Police College site concluded today.
The residents' case turned on the unacceptable levels of planning harm that would flow from seeking to maximise (as opposed to optimise) the development potential of the Appeal Site and can be summarised as follows:
- The Appeal Scheme proposed fails to provide any open space for children's play area and fails to mitigate the harm that this would cause.
- The Appeal Scheme would have a significant adverse impact on adjacent residential amenity in terms of the overbearing bulk and proximity of the proposed built form.
- The Appeal Scheme's density in terms of dwellings per hectare has led to a built form that is inappropriate for the area in which the Appeal Site is situated.
- The Appeal Scheme's proposed access onto Green Street is incompatible with the operation of the local transport infrastructure, namely the Triangle.
- The Appeal Scheme falls materially short of making appropriate provision for off-street parking.
The QC for the Appellants, Linden Homes, declared that "We have spent some time on the fall back position (44 units as opposed to 28 already approved by Planning Committee). As the site is in the ownership of a house builder, the principle of residential development is accepted and a planning permission has recently been granted for 28 units, the likelihood of re-use for a [residential training facility] recedes. However, as [a witness] observed, until this appeal is determined and the recent planning permission remains unchallenged by judicial review we cannot be sure. It would not be the first planning permission issued against officer advice which has been challenged by disaffected interest groups or residents (The Police College Development Action Group do not have the monopoly on local opinion)."
LOSRA has been advised that, in the absence of a challenge by judicial review in the High Court, Linden Homes intend to proceed with the 28 unit plan and, as indicated by the QC's statement, the reasons for appealing the refusal of the 44 unit was simply a precaution against any individual applying for a JR of the 28 unit plan already approved. We hope to be advised of the outcome in the New Year.