INSPECTOR’S DECISION ON 3RD APPLICATION
In November 12th, 2007 the Planning Inspector rejected Barratt Kent’s appeal against the refusal of their application.
Immediately prior to the appeal Barratt Kent made an amendment to their third application; realising that the footprint of their proposed development was still greater than the footprint of the old school premises, they removed all garages from the planned new properties, thus reducing the footprint to current levels.
In spite of this late change the Inspector still rejected the appeal on a number of grounds :
- The extent of development.
He felt that Sevenoaks District Council had been “overgenerous” when they had outlined the area available for development, because it took in “significant areas of undeveloped meadowland between and around the buildings”.
He also felt that the curtilages of properties would extend out into the Green Belt beyond current development, and would “encroach significantly into the principal areas of the site, both inside and outside the delineated area”. He felt that this would “have an adverse impact on the character of the Green Belt”.
- The design of the proposed development
The Inspector felt that the new houses “are effectively standard house types, repeated throughout the development, irrespective of location. Whilst there has evidently been a detailed study of local materials and form, this has not resulted in anything other than debased imitations of local buildings and token gestures towards local architectural style”.
- The layout of the proposed development
The Inspector felt that the scheme layout did not relate well to the site in terms of structure or the history of the site. He felt it was “an estate form……an essentially suburban approach (which was) entirely inappropriate for this unique and historic rural site”.
- Setting of the Listed Buildings
The Inspector felt that the Barratt proposals were inappropriate in relation to the treatment of the listed buildings. “Insufficient weight appears to have been given to the need to find the most appropriate way of incorporating these historic buildings into the development of the site”.
- Overall View
The Inspector was particularly scathing about Barratts overall approach to the development. “In my view, there has been a blinkered approach to the design and layout of this scheme. There seems to have been a drive to maximise the number of dwellings on the site rather than to produce a design specific to a place reflecting the unique characteristics of the site. The development would not be compatible, in terms of scale and site coverage or with the nature of the site…””.
The Parish Council has always felt that these particular issues were not adequately dealt with by the proposals, and therefore they have formed the basis of the continued PC objections to all three applications to develop the site.
If anyone would like a full copy of the Inspector’s Appeal Decision, please contact the Clerk.