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Planning Inspector support local residents over importance of the character of an area

May 24, 2009 12:00 AM
72 The Avenue

72 The Avenue

Local residents, supported by Lib Dem Councillor Caroline Nichols, have successfully fought off an attempt to over-develop a site in Lower Sunbury.

The planning application to knock down number 72 The Avenue in Sunbury-on-Thames and replace it with two new houses has been refused, following an appeal to the Government Planning Inspector.

After a hard fought campaign the Planning Inspector refused the developers appeal and accepted the arguments put forward by Councillor Caroline Nichols and local residents that the look of the area would be damaged. The case is very important as it confirms that the way developments impact the locality really matters.

Caroline worked closely with local residents to make sure that their voice was heard in the Council. She has spoken on behalf of residents about this site at several Planning Committee meetings, where the vote was always very close.

Hopefully Spelthorne's Planning Committee will take note of this decision and have the confidence to be more demanding of planning applications than they have been in the past. Lib Dem members on the Planning Committee have consistently argued that the Council's policy on this (policy EN1) should be more rigorously applied.

The original application was refused by the Planning Committee on technical grounds only, citing solely the impact on the neighbouring house. This left the door open to the developer to get planning permission by addressing these points of detail. Residents argued that the wider impact on the area and street scene should be taken into account. The Conservative dominated Planning Committee were unwilling to accept the street-scene arguments and so the refusal was on limited grounds only. The appeal outcome considerably strengthened the refusal by saying that the proposal would adversely impact on the street scene and character of the area.

The full decision notice by the Planning Inspector can be viewed by following the link below.

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