Planning inspector makes ruling on semi-detached homes appeal in Calderdale town

Benefits building two homes to help address a housing shortfall in an area are not enough to outweigh harm to a conservation area, a planning inspector has decided.

Saturday, 25th September 2021, 7:00 am

Planning Inspector F. Rafiq dismissed an appeal made by Ms Liz Middleton against Calderdale Council’s decision in April to refuse her permission to develop two three-bed semi-detached houses on land at Lee Royd, Heptonstall Road, Hebden Bridge.

The land is in in the Hebden Bridge Conservation Area and although the site was occupied by buildings it is presently a largely open area of land that contains vegetation and trees, said the inspector.

The proposed development would lose this open space at a site which, although woodland below screens it from various locations, is still highly visible in near views from Heptonstall Road.

Planning inspector makes ruling on semi-detached homes appeal

Although it could be developed in keeping within other buildings nearby, “the loss of this open area would encroach upon this verdant landscape setting and be detrimental to the conservation area,” said the Inspector.

And although engineering work for parking and external areas could be formed of traditional materials, the large expanse of hardstanding would add to the harm the Inspector found, as it would “reduce the leafy, green setting of the conservation area”, said the decision papers.

There was also a privacy concern as indicative plans show kitchen windows would face onto Heptonstall Road and would result in “harmful overlooking at close quarters of these…neighbouring occupants,” said the Inspector.

Ms Middleton had argued that the proposal would make a contribution to reducing housing shortfall in the area and the benefit of providing additional housing for local people.

But on balance the Inspector said these benefits would not outweigh the harm the development would cause to the conservation area, to which great weight is given in the planning framework.

“I acknowledge that the proposal would provide satisfactory access as well as addressing other issues such as flooding and wildlife conservation.

“Reference has also been made to the framework not precluding development on greenfield sites.

“These are however neutral matters and not considerations which weigh in favour of the proposal,” said the Inspector, dismissing the appeal.

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