Planning appeal success for architect-designed, contemporary house in Essex

Architect drawing of contemporary house design

An effective appeal strategy from our planning consultants at Plainview Planning has secured approval at appeal for a replacement 3-bed residential dwelling in Colchester, Essex.

The original planning application sought to demolish an existing dwelling and build a contemporary home, which would benefit from energy efficient features, assimilate well into the surrounding context and enhance the existing landscape.

However, planning consent was refused by Colchester Borough Council primarily on the basis that they did not support a contemporary, modern dwelling in a rural setting and they believed the proposed building to be too great in bulk and mass.

Following the refusal, our professional expertise was sought to review the application and come up with a robust strategy to support the development of the project at appeal.

Preparing a strategy for planning appeal

We constructed a persuasive appeal to rebut the reasons for refusal and to justify why the proposed development should be allowed, which included:

  • evidence to demonstrate why the replacement dwelling was a high-quality design and how it presented a suitable development for the site;
  • analysis of the Council’s land designations in regard to Employment Zones and successful identification of the material flaws of its application on this particular site;
  • a thorough design and context analysis;
  • presentation of a persuasive fall-back position in relation to unused PDR;
  • and we evidenced how the proposed design met the requirements of both local and national policy.

How to argue ‘design’ at appeal

In terms of design, it is always difficult to be persuasive when arguing a subjective matter. In this case, the challenge was to demonstrate that the council were not engaging with innovative and modern architectural design, and as a result had missed the opportunity to support an architect-led, original and creative development that was sympathetic to its surroundings and could be viewed as a benchmark for sustainable development in the area.

Our team of expert planners utilised their knowledge of architectural styles to demonstrate to the Planning Inspector that the Council’s design approach was flawed. We were pleased to learn that the Inspector found the Council to be ‘didactic’ in demanding that the proposed design had to reflect traditional forms due to its location, and that this approach was inappropriate in this instance. It was acknowledged that in this case the contemporary aesthetic would create a more sustainable building, providing the Appellant with a high-quality living environment both now and in the future.

We are so pleased, both for our client and their architect, that this appeal has been allowed and that an innovative, high-quality and sustainable development, can now be realised.

Can I appeal my planning refusal?

In basic terms, if your planning application has been refused then you have a right to appeal the decision. There are three different appeal routes you can take, depending on the background and complexities of your case, which are:

– Written representation;
– Hearings; or
– Inquiries.

Typically, the most common form of appeal is a Written Representation, as the latter two options are more formal and involve more legal input and costs.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that although you may have a right to appeal, it isn’t necessarily the route we always recommend. A lot depends on the particulars of each case and therefore we always undertake a thorough assessment of the scheme in hand. This informs the planning strategy moving forwards and helps us to understand whether an appeal is merited or, if it may be worthwhile considering other options such as ongoing negotiation with the Council or re-submission with a revised scheme etc.

If your planning application has recently been refused and you are unsure about how to move your project forwards then get in touch.

About Us

Plainview Planning is an independent planning consultancy. Our team of planning consultants provide clients with wide ranging planning assistance, from applications and appeals to local plan representations and public consultations. If you need planning support, then contact the team via to see how we can best help and to receive a no obligation fee quote for our services. We would be delighted to help.