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21/03/2019

Appeal: Inspector rejects flats proposal for Crawley business park

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Outline planning permission for 80 flats at a Crawley business park has been refused after an inspector ruled the proposal breached neighbourhood principles and the local plan.

LOCATION

Land north of Tilgate Forest Business Centre, Brighton Road, Tilgate, Crawley RH11 9PT

AUTHORITYCrawley
INSPECTORJohn Wilde
PROCEDUREHearing
DECISION

Dismissed

REFERENCE

APP/Q3820/W/18/3202034

Lamron Developments had appealed against the rejection by Crawley Borough Council of its scheme to build two four-storey buildings comprising 80 one and two-bedroom flats within the Tilgate Business Park.

Under Crawley’s Local Plan, proposals involving a net loss of employment floor space in any of the main employment areas will only be permitted if the site is no longer suitable, viable or appropriate.

Lamron Developments provided documents showing the site had been unsuccessfully marketed for 20 years and while several planning permissions have been granted on the site none had come to fruition because of lack of funding, preference for other sites and vacancy rates at business units.

However, inspector John Wilde said the case had not been made that the site would be “unviable for uses other than office use, particularly small business units”. He decided that the loss of potential employment floor space within the business centre must have a negative impact on its economic role and function and therefore contravened the local plan.

The inspector said the introduction of residential development into a business centre, on the opposite side of the busy A23 to the nearest neighbourhood centre Broadfield and with a poor level of connectivity did not maintain the neighbourhood structure of the town or protect a clear pattern of land uses. This also contravened the local plan.

He decided that the scheme would conflict with the living conditions of future occupiers, particularly as sunlight and daylight are compromised by a nearby ancient woodland.

The inspector said a financial contribution to improve the woodland would not be related to the scale of the proposed development, which was also within the 15-metre buffer zone advised by Natural England.

He therefore rejected the appeal.

The inspector’s report – case reference 3202034 – can be read here.

Image credit | iStock

 

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