An Inspector REFUSES some flats




We’ve just heard that a planning inspector had dismissed an appeal by developers who wanted to build some flats in Victoria Avenue, Rayleigh.

This is particularly interesting because our planning officers had recommended that we allow the application, but most councillors went against that.

The key sentences in the inspectors decision letter are:

“To my mind the proposals would significantly reduce views through the site, to the vegetation along the rear boundary, and across the site, including sky views, from Victoria Avenue. The depth of the return of Blocks A and B, the bulk of the rear building and their juxtaposition with one another, would result in a large mass of built form on the site and a poor layout.

The resultant effect on the street scene, when approaching from either the north or the south would, to my mind, be of a very dense form of development which would result in a loss of openness within the street scene.”

9. The density of the existing residential development in the immediate area is 15 dwellings per hectare. The proposal would result in a density on the appeal site of 69 dwellings per hectare. Government guidance contained in Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing seeks the efficient use of land. However, developments should also integrate with and complement the neighbouring
buildings and the local area. In my view, the density of the proposal would fail to achieve this and would therefore be an overdevelopment of the site. Taken together with the bulk of Blocks A and B and the poor layout of the proposals the quality of the local environment would be compromised.

10. Turning now to the protected trees within the appeal site, I consider these make a significant contribution to the street scene. The Council have raised no objection to the proposals in relation to trees and consider that the preserved trees could be retained, subject to suitable protection and construction techniques being employed. On the information before me, I accept this conclusion. However, the close proximity of oak T12 to the flank and rear windows of Block B could reduce light to these windows.

This could lead to requests from future residents to remove or prune the tree. The latter would
be likely to threaten its health and life expectancy. In turn, this could harm the
character and appearance of the area and adds weight to my concerns over the

Another application for the site has just been submitted.

Jackie adds:

As residents may be aware, there is a new application for four semi- detached houses to the front and a terrace of five houses to the rear. I shall be requesting a site visit for Councillors to obtain more detail of how this application would work in practice.

Although I am obliged to refrain from making a decision prior to the Committee meeting I am more than happy to speak to local residents .

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