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Successful appeal hearing for 17x dwelling development in Whitstable, Kent

Days Yard image

Another appeal win for the Plainview Planning Team, this time for the redevelopment of a brownfield site in a challenging location to create; 5x town houses, 4x mews houses, and 8x flats.

We were approached to assist following a refusal of the scheme by Canterbury City Council. The main issues included: the effect of the proposed development on the local conservation area and the site’s location within flood zone 3.

In addition, the complexity of the site and costs associated with its development meant that the provision of affordable housing would not be viable.

On the face of it this was certainly a challenging case with a development being proposed in a sensitive area and in a high-risk flood zone.

But a closer analysis of the scheme and the Council’s reasons for refusal gave our planning team sufficient confidence that we could present a robust appeal.  We set about preparing a comprehensive strategy and response to rebut the reasons for refusal.

The impact of development on a conservation area

In preparing the statement of case for the planning appeal, we undertook a thorough context analysis and design review, which enabled us to:

  • successfully evidence how the proposals responded to the local area and would positively contribute to the surrounding character and appearance;
  • sourced relevant case law to support our response;
  • identified that the conservation area itself did not meet the necessary criteria for conservation area designation.

This review enabled us to demonstrate how the proposed scheme responded positively the historic context.

Justifying a development within Flood Zone 3

Trying to justify the approval for a scheme when it’s classed as Flood Zone 3 was always going to be challenging, especially as national planning policy tends to steer any new developments away from areas which are at high risk of flooding.

However we were able to demonstrate how the site had been designed to ensure that occupants would remain safe in the event of a flood and that the necessary Sequential and Exception Tests had been passed.

Affordable housing provision

The Council only raised the lack of affordable housing as being an issue at the point the decision was made. This was clearly frustrating for our client who had engaged with the Council during the application process. On our advice, our client commissioned a viability assessment that demonstrated that the provision of affordable housing would not be viable at this site. This issue was debated at length during the hearing proceedings and was found in our clients favour.

Planning Balance

Despite the complexity of the case, we successfully demonstrated the many benefits that the scheme would deliver, which include:

  • the positive redevelopment of a brownfield site with the introduction of 17x high quality dwellings within a central and sustainable part of Whitstable with good access to services and facilities;
  • the appeal site constitutes a windfall development and as such, will enable the Council to meet its housing supply requirements;
  • the sensitive design which responds to local context will transform a brownfield site into a residential development which will reflect local distinctiveness.

Upon review of the arguments surrounding the case and our successful presentation of the scheme at the appeal hearing, the Planning Inspector identified the many positives of the proposed development and approved planning for the 17 dwellings. An outstanding win to add to our portfolio.

About us

Plainview Planning is an independent planning consultancy. Our team of experienced planners bring an informed yet fresh approach to tackling the planning system. If you have a development project which would benefit from professional planning consultancy input, contact the team via enquiries@plainview.co.uk to see how we can best assist.

IMAGE SOURCE: Invent Architecture, 2017.