Local Opposition Overcome

Appeal Ref: APP/G5180/A/11/2146769 & APP/G5180/A/11/2146770

66 and 68 Park Road, Beckenham, Kent, BR3 1QH

The original application for two three storey blocks of 6 and 7 apartments, with underground parking, access and additional parking, all for residential use, was refused on 14th September 2010.  The client contacted Planning Appeals Ltd / The Planning Group Ltd for advice as to whether an appeal was the way forward.

The Council’s main objection was that the development would cause a loss of privacy and result in over development of the site.  The fact was that the development would of course increase the amount of households living in the area, however, conditions could have been imposed that would prevent a loss of privacy, we did not consider that the development was “over development”.  The location was sustainable and, in our opinion, represented a good quality housing development.

The application itself had caused some local resistance and it appeared that the Council had been influenced by some particularly loud voices.  It must be borne in mind however, that objections to a planning application are not a reason for refusal – a refusal must be based on planning arguments and not NIMBY reasons.

Alan Barker, Dip T.P, MRTPI was assigned the case and he researched similar planning applications and decisions in the local area.  He decided that our argument would be that

‘…the proposal is acceptable in that it would not result in a significant loss of amenity to the local residents, nor would it impact detrimentally to the character of the area.’”

Martin Parrish, M.D. decided that he considered the Council’s refusal decision to be flawed and therefore a Costs Application would be appropriate as an Appeal should not have been necessary.  The Council could have negotiated with the client and imposed satisfactory conditions to make the development succeed.

The Inspector allowed both appeals and awarded costs against the Council in both cases.

The Inspector stated

Paragraph B21 of the Circular indicates that local opposition is not, in itself, a reasonable ground for resisting development. To carry significant weight, opposition should be founded on valid planning reasons which are supported by substantial evidence. Although there is no evidence that the Council has relied almost exclusively on local opposition, the Council has failed to show reasonable planning grounds for taking a contrary decision and to produce substantial evidence in support of the reasons for refusal. I conclude that the application to the Council ought not to have been refused and therefore the appellant has incurred unnecessary expense as a result of the appeal.
I therefore find that unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense, as described in Circular 03/2009, has been demonstrated and that a full award of costs is justified.