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Gullivers Bowling Appeal Decision

Gullivers Bowling Appeal Decision

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Published by Fuzzy_Wood_Person
A case from the Planning Appeals Inspectorate in the UK
A case from the Planning Appeals Inspectorate in the UK

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Fuzzy_Wood_Person on May 27, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Appeal Decision
Inquiry held on 4, 5, 6 and 7 December 2012Site visit made on 7 December 2012
by Frances Mahoney DipTP MRTPI IHBC
 an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local GovernmentDecision date: 30 January 2013
Appeal Ref: APP/U1430/A/06/2030466Gullivers Bowls Club, Knole Road, Bexhill-on-Sea
The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990against a refusal to grant planning permission.
The appeal is made by Churchill Retirement Living against the decision of Rother DistrictCouncil.
The application Ref RR/2006/2226/P, dated 2 August 2006, was refused by notice dated12 October 2006.
The development proposed is the redevelopment to form 41 sheltered apartments forthe elderly, car parking, landscape and access and new outdoor bowls green, indoorrink, club facilities and car park.
This decision supersedes that issued on 22 August 2007. That decision on the appealwas quashed by order of the High Court.
The appeal is dismissed.
Procedural matters
2. This appeal was first heard by way of an Inquiry held by another Inspector on17, 18 & 19 July 2007. His decision, dated 22 August 2007, was the subject of an application to the High Court by a Rule 6 Party and, on 29 May 2008, theCourt ordered, by consent, that the decision be remitted to the Secretary of State for re-hearing and determination. The Secretary of State then producedan environmental impact assessment direction screening dated July 2009,which concluded that the development was not likely to have significant effectson the environment. The screening direction was subject to a High Courtchallenge. However, the Court refused to quash the decision of the Secretaryof State in respect of the screening. Following an appeal to the Court of Appealthe appeal was dismissed. As a result this case has now fallen to me todetermine, based on the submitted evidence and all that I heard and saw atthe Inquiry held on the 4 – 7 December 2012.3. At the Inquiry, 2 sets of revised plans were proffered by the appellantcompany. The first was alternative elevation details of the sheltered blockwhich, in essence, involved a change in the roof pitch and configuration; theintroduction of different external finishes, along with front balconies and baywindows. The plans, dated 2009, also included the re-design of the bowls clubbuilding and indoor bowls green, which would be set down into the sitereducing the ground level at the northern end of the appeal site. The secondset (2012) was a comprehensive re-design of the sheltered housing building
Appeal Decision APP/U1430/A/06/2030466
 taking a more contemporary approach, whilst still retaining the scale and massof the original scheme. In both cases the appellant company had carried out aprocess of consultation with interested parties and submitted the resultantrepresentations to the Inquiry. The first set of proposed amendments (2009)relating to the sheltered building are in the main cosmetic. The scale, massingand design configuration remaining generally unaltered from the originalscheme (dwg nos CRL:20019BX:RB1, RB2, BRC1 and BRC2). In respect of thedesign changes to the proposed bowls club building and indoor rink, these werepromoted to address the Council’s concerns and had come about throughdiscussions with the Council’s officers. The Council confirmed that were theamended plans to be accepted, they no longer wished to defend reason forrefusal 3 in so far as it related to the proposed bowling club buildings asspecific elements of the scheme. Taking into account the minor nature of theamendments proposed in the context of the larger scheme; the extent of theconsultation process undertaken by the appellant company; the commentsreceived from third parties; and their acceptance by both the Council and theGullivers Action Group (GAG), I consider that the admittance of the amendedplans from 2009 would not leave any party significantly disadvantaged in termsof the consideration of this matter.4. The second set of amended plans dated 2012, represented a more significantchange in respect of the form, layout and elevational details of the shelteredbuilding. Whilst the consultation process adopted by the appellant companywas comparatively robust, with such intrinsic amendments proposed I am notsatisfied that the process adopted would be appropriate to ensure that allparties/stakeholders would have been engaged in the consideration of theamended scheme. Therefore, the submitted plans of 2012 were rejected asbeing changes of more than what could reasonably be considered to be minoramendments to the original scheme.5. Therefore, for the avoidance of doubt, I confirm that the consideration of thisappeal is based on the first set of amended plans (2009) as detailed above,along with those plans originally submitted as part of the application and notthen subsequently superseded.6. Following the Inquiry in 2007, the Council confirmed that they no longer wishedto defend reason for refusal 1, which relates to whether one of the bowlinggreens is surplus to requirements and could be used for other sports, andreason 4 which deals with the effect of the indoor bowling rink and formation of the car park to the sheltered building on neighbouring dwellings. They weresatisfied that based on the submitted evidence the appellant company hadproved their case in this regard. However, GAG continue to oppose the schemeon these grounds and therefore, I shall return to the consideration of thesematters later in the decision.7. A section 106 Obligation signed by the appellant company and the Council wassubmitted at the Inquiry. It deals with a financial contribution towards theprovision of affordable housing. It serves to vary the terms of the UnilateralUndertaking (dated 12 July 2007) already connected to this appeal.8. My attention has also been drawn to a restrictive covenant imposed on theproperty title relating to the appeal site (Gullivers Bowling Club). This allowsfor development on the Knole Road frontage, but specifies that it should be inthe form of four detached dwellinghouses. However, the terms andapplicability of this covenant do not restrict my consideration of a different
Appeal Decision APP/U1430/A/06/2030466
 proposal for development on the Knole Road frontage, and I shall proceedaccordingly.
Planning Policy
Since the proposed scheme was refused planning permission in 2006 thedevelopment plan for the area has evolved and the emphasis of Governmentpolicy has moved away from the regional base to an agenda of localism. As aresult, the East Sussex and Brighton & Hove Structure Plan 1991-2011 is nolonger in force having been succeeded by the South East Plan (RS), as regionalstrategy. However, the revocation of the regional strategies is accepted as aGovernment intention. Nonetheless, until such time as the RS is formallyrevoked by Order it remains part of the development plan. That being said,the Council has relied upon the policies within the Rother District Local Plan(LP) adopted in 2006, its policies being saved in 2009.10.
The Proposed Submission Core Strategy (incorporating the focusedamendments) (CS) was submitted for public examination in November 2012.At the time of the Inquiry the report of the Inspector was awaited. Taking intoaccount the progress of the Core Strategy within the examination process, Ihave afforded some weight to the policies of that document.11. National planning policy has moved on over the extended period during whichthis appeal has been under consideration. The National Planning PolicyFramework (the Framework) was published in March 2012. In general it hassuperseded the Planning Policy Statement documents, historically referred to inthe previous proceedings relating to this case (an exception being the HistoricEnvironment Planning Practice Guide (Companion to PPS5)). I have consideredthe appeal in the context of this current national planning policy and amsatisfied that the development plan policies relevant to this appeal aregenerally consistent with the thrust of the Framework.
Main Issues
From the evidence before me, including all that I have seen and read, the mainissues in this case are:
the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the surrounding area, having regard to the setting of the neighbouring listedbuilding;
on the living conditions of adjacent residents, having regard to outlook,privacy, sunlight, daylight, and noise and disturbance; and
whether the proposal would appropriately contribute to the provision of affordable housing in the district.
Character and appearance/setting of the listed building
13. The appeal site lies just off the main promenade in an urban setting of predominantly attractive, substantial, characterising detached and semi-detached Victorian Villas which, whilst many have been converted to flats andnursing homes, still retain the elegance of a bygone age of Victoriansophistication. Immediately opposite the appeal site is De la Warr Parade, a

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