Well Street Development
WELL STREET STUDENT DEVELOPMENT: Planning Application Refused
It came as a pleasant surprise to everyone when the Planning Officer's Report to the Planning Committee was published that, counter to all prior indications given by the case officers, the recommendation was REFUSAL on the grounds of St James Neighbourhood Plan Policy C2a. This states that large scale Purpose Built Student Accommodation (over 10 beds) in St James will be permitted only in areas that are not predominantly characterised by intact streets of traditional terraced, semi-detached and detached forms of 2-3 storey residential development.
This decision was confirmed at the Planning Committee meeting on 27 June and is a notable victory for the Neighbourhood Plan, representing the first time that refusal has been recommended solely because of a Policy of the Plan.
However - as the Forum and the majority of objectors, including the Civic Society, also made clear - an even more important reason to refuse the application was that of increasing community imbalance. Picking up on this issue and others, Cllrs. Keith Owen and Kevin Mitchell both spoke at the meeting, making their points very clearly and requesting Planning Members to consider including this issue in the Reasons for Refusal. Cllr. Percy Prowse, a member of Planning Committee, also spoke in support of the Forum and whole community on the matter of imbalance and the failure of Article 4 to control HMO conversion let alone community balance.
It was, therefore, finally agreed that the Reasons for Refusal would be strengthened with the addition of reference to the issue of community balance.
As so often in such cases, the Developer or Applicant may decide to appeal the decision, so for now we await further news.
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