Christchurch Borough Council: Pure Town Planning are pleased to report another appeal success which included a full award of costs against the Council! This one was for the extension of a bungalow in the Highcliffe area of Christchurch.
The existing bungalow was of single storey scale and the applicant wished to extend upwards to create a chalet bungalow. The planning officer at the Christchurch Borough Council considered the application to be in accordance with the Development Plan Policies and the scheme was recommended for approval. However, several neighbours felt otherwise stating the mass and bulk of the development would have a harmful impact on the streetscene and the proposed dormer window would be harmful to neighbouring amenity. The application was subsequently taken before the Council’s Planning Committee for determination and after limited debate was unanimously refused planning permission by Members who sided with the neighbours against officer recommendation. After the refusal Pure Town Planning were instructed to appeal the decision and we recommended the applicant pursue a costs award as the behaviour of Members in reaching their decision was considered to be unreasonable.
Pure Town Planning successfully made the case for the merits of the scheme to the Inspector showing that many of the existing bungalows in the street already featured similar upper floor accommodation, therefore the extension of the existing property would not be harmful to the streetscene and that the scheme featured obscure glazing to prevent overlooking. The Inspector recognised the quality of the proposal stating: “I observed that other similar chalet bungalows feature ridge heights and dormer window configurations similar to the proposed development. Consequently, for these reasons, I consider that the mass and bulk of the proposal would not be out of character with the area” and “In conclusion, the proposal would not cause any harmful overlooking to neighbouring properties or cause any other unacceptable harm to their amenities.”
The Inspector duly overturned the Council’s decision and granted planning consent for the scheme. Furthermore, in assessing the Council’s behaviour, the Inspector found Members behaved unreasonably in refusing planning permission stating “I consider that the single reason for refusal is vague, generalised and not supported by any objective analysis” and duly ordered Christchurch Borough Council to pay full costs to the appellant in relation to them pursuing the appeal.
We really look forward to seeing this scheme being built out as it will enable the applicant to make their dream home a reality. If you have had a recent planning refusal – why not contact Pure Town Planning to see if an appeal is the best way forward.