Appeal to extend Todmorden dance hall dismissed

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An appeal to overturn a decision to block proposals to extend a hall used by a dance academy has been dismissed.

Nigel Foran, of DC Dance and Performing Arts, asked the Planning Inspectorate to reconsider Calderdale Borough Council’s decision to reject plans to add a two-storey extension to Ambulance Hall in Victoria Road in Todmorden, which would provide two larger tuition studios and increase floorspace by almost a third.

Independent planning inspector Gwyn Clark recognised in his appeal decision that while the dance school’s clients were mainly based locally and so a significant number walked to classes, the most significant method of attendance involved clients being picked up and dropped off by car.

The streets around the dance studio are relatively narrow and parking is restricted, and while Mr Foran provided survey data of vehicle movements, the inspector said it did not sufficiently detail traffic patterns and that a plan for seven parking spaces falls short of the number required.

Mr Clark acknowledged the school was a valued community asset, that community groups would benefit from an extension and that a large number of letters had been submitted in support of the proposal.

But he added: “I have taken into account the range of benefits the extended dance school would brings to its customers and to the community as a whole, but consider that these benefits are outweighed by significant harmful effect that the traffic generated by the school has upon highway safety.”